Four Easy Tomato Techniques

Learn how to oven-dry, roast, grill and braise tomatoes.
Joanne Weir

Oven-drying
Cooking tomatoes for a long time at a low temperature dehydrates them and concentrates their flavor. These are plumper and softer than commercial sun-dried tomatoes, with a delicate, rich flavor.

We used 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise (about 10)

1. Sprinkle cut sides of tomato halves with kosher salt. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, on paper towels. Let stand 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
3. Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until edges of tomatoes curl (the tomatoes will feel dry to the touch).
Note: These will keep for a week, covered, in the refrigerator, or for up to a month in the freezer.

Roasting
Roasting briefly at high heat leaves tomatoes juicy while condensing their flavors. We used 4 medium tomatoes, cut in half horizontally.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Core and seed tomato halves. Sprinkle cut sides of tomato halves with salt. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, on paper towels. Let stand 20 minutes.
3. Place tomato halves, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with desired seasonings. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tomatoes soften.

Grilling
The high heat used in grilling quickly caramelizes the natural sugars, producing slightly charred, juicy tomatoes with rich flavor.

1. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, on paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Place tomato halves, cut sides down, in pan; grill 5 minutes. Turn tomato halves; grill 1 minute or until the skin is blackened. Remove from pan; cool 5 minutes.

Braising
Braising (slow cooking in liquid over low heat) causes tomatoes to break down and absorb other flavors in the dish.

1. Chop, seed, and peel tomato
2. Place a large nonstick skillet or Dutch Oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
3. Add tomatoes.
4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally until tomatoes are soft