Tim Cebula
September 09, 2008

Tomatoes are in abundance this time of year, so it helps to have a variety of applications to enjoy them to the fullest. Caprese salads and similar raw tomato dishes, wonderful as they are, need to be balanced with some cooked options.

Even though it’s the height of the season, not every tomato is full flavored and juicy. Less-than-perfect specimens are ideal candidates for slow roasting, a simple technique that almost magically transforms tomatoes. The process gently dehydrates the flesh, giving it intense flavor, bold red color and velvety texture.

Peel, quarter and seed whole tomatoes, toss them with olive oil and a little salt, then roast them at 200 degrees for a couple of hours. The exact time will vary, depending on the size and ripeness of the tomatoes. They’ll shrink as they roast, but remove them just before they start to shrivel—you’re not looking to oven-dry them.

This technique works wonders on bland tomatoes out of season, but it’s a nice change of pace in season as well. Chop up the slow-roasted quarters and use them in ratatouille, mix them with onions, capers, and chopped grilled zucchini for a bruschetta topping or set them whole on toasted baguette slices with goat cheese or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano for a tempting canapé. Check out these other ways to work with the bumper crop of tomatoes.

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