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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Roasted Tomatoes Recipe – Simple and Delicious

Roasted Tomatoes Recipe – simple and delicious

These delicious Roasted Tomatoes are such a simple recipe, yet have so many uses: serve with roasted meats, as part of a cooked breakfast, crushed onto toasted crusty bread, part of the ingredients for home-made pizza, or cold as part of a salad or in a sandwich with a good cheese.  They keep well in the fridge for a few days, so make a big batch and then use cold or reheated as you like.

The tomatoes need to be ripe but still fairly firm: of course, you will buy good, flavoursome tomatoes, and not the woolly, tasteless hothouse variety.  However, this Roast Tomato Recipe will work well even if the only tomatoes you have been able to find are of the mediocre variety: the olive oil, garlic, seasonings and herbs give punch added to the sweetness and depth of flavour of the caramelisation effect from the roasting.

Use any size tomatoes you like, adjusting the cooking time accordingly, but I would still cut them in half even if using little cherry tomatoes, as we want them to retain some of their shape and texture after cooking.  However, a very good variation on this recipe is to roast small tomatoes whole: they will burst, and generally “mush” down to a thick, very flavoursome tomato sauce, for which you will also find many uses.

Roast Tomato Recipe – Ingredients

As many good flavoured, ripe and reasonably firm tomatoes as you like, cut in half
Garlic cloves, peeled, quantity to your taste – I would suggest on clove of garlic for every one or two tomatoes
Good sea salt, such as Maldon, and plenty of freshly milled or crushed black pepper
Olive oil, enough to lubricate the pan and get a good coating onto the tomatoes when shaken around
Herbs, as available and as you like, fresh where possible.  Basil is good here, as are Rosemary, Oregano/Marjoram and Bay or a mixture.  That emergency pack of mixed dried herbs you have at the back of your cupboard will do quite well here too, as the cooking time allows the flavours to come out and develop.

Roast Tomato Recipe – Method

Pre-heat the oven to fairly hot – 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7.  Put a suitable sized roasting tin or pan into the oven to pre-heat while you prepare the tomatoes.

Cut the tomatoes in half.  Peel the garlic: you have several options here – cut the garlic into slivers and insert into little slits you make in the tomatoes, crush the garlic and sprinkle over the tomatoes in the last five minutes or so of the cooking time (any earlier and crushed garlic will burn at these temperatures) or as I often do, just peel the garlic and pop them into the pan whole, which gives a gentle garlicky flavour to the whole dish, and leaves you with lovely chewy, toffee-like garlic morsels to munch on.

Once the oven and pan are to the required temperature, put the cut tomatoes in the pan with the garlic (see previous paragraph), the herbs, the salt and pepper, and a good slug of oil, shaking it all around so all is well-coated.  Put into oven, and have a look after fifteen minutes.  Depending on the tomatoes you have used, they could be done by now, but most likely will need further cooking.  Turn the tomatoes as necessary, then return to the oven until done – probably around twenty five minutes in all.

Cook’s Tip: if the tomatoes are not particularly sweet (taste one before you start!) you can add a little caster/confectioner’s sugar along with the herbs and seasonings.

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