Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
It’s almost time.
Tomato time, that is. In just a few short months, the markets and stores will be overflowing with so many sun-ripened tomatoes that you’ll think the city is taking some serious action against scurvy. Glorious.
But we’re not quite there yet. So while we wait for the sun to do its thing, I want to share with you a super-simple technique for roasting tomatoes that’ll make those less-than-ruby romas so flavourful you’ll be eating them long after your neighbour’s ribbon-winning beefsteaks come in. Nice.
I’ve also given a shout-out to eight classic, easy-to-find ingredients that’ll make your tomatoes even more amazing. Use them individually or in combination (when it makes sense; I’m not advocating serving pasta on toast) to come up with your own take on pizzas, pastas, soups, sandwiches, salsas, sauces - the world is your tomato!
Tank running low on inspiration? Not to worry — I’ve also included a few tasty combinations at the end of the post.
Now let’s get to it!
Eight Ingredients to Inspire Your Roasted Tomato Creations!
A handful of chopped fresh herbs (like basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano - the list goes on!) scattered overtop the tomatoes once they’re out of the oven provides contrasting freshness to the rich tomatoes, while a few slices of garlic placed overtop the tomatoes before baking will infuse them with garlicky goodness.
Tomatoes + cheese = classic (and awesome!). Roasted tomatoes are packed with flavour, so choose a cheese that can hold its own (I like either a creamy feta, a sharp pecorino-romano or pamesan, or a tangy blue, but don’t be afraid to give another cheese a try!). Top the tomatoes with a good sprinkle of cheese 20-30 minutes before they’re done roasting or once they’re out of the oven - either way’s delicious.
Dried herbs pack a bit more of a punch than their fresh counterparts and are great for adding flavour while baking (and don’t have the downside of turning wonky-looking when baked the way fresh herbs do). I’m a big fan of oregano with roasted tomatoes, but spicy and smokey flavours work well too.
Oils + Vinegars
Oils and vinegars can add a ton of richness and depth to an already amazing tomato! Toss tomatoes in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil or top with a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar before baking for extra-decadent results, or simply drizzle a bit of either (or both!) over the tomatoes once you’re ready to serve them.
If you’re looking for a blank canvas to paint with the flavour of roasted tomatoes, this is it!
A slice of crisp, Italian-style garlic bread topped with sweet, roasted tomatoes has got to be one of the tastiest, easiest snacks around. Oh man!
As with the herbs, greens are fresh! The slightly bitter, peppery bite of arugula plays particularly nicely here!
Creamy white beans are the perfect complement to slightly acidic tomatoes. They also pack more of a protein punch than any of the other ingredients up here, so if you’re looking to take your tomatoes into the realm of a full-on meal, beans are a great way to go. I like cannellini beans, but any white bean should do just fine!
Adapted from Gourmet
6 plum tomatoes*
3/4 tsp salt**
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut tomatoes in half length-wise, remove stemmy bit, and place cut-side-up in a shallow (3-inch-ish) oiled baking dish. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (olive oil is optional, but tasty!). Bake for 60-90*** minutes or until skins have shriveled and tomatoes have reached your preferred flavour and consistency. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Plum tomatoes have less moisture than a standard tomato, which means that they’ll get juicy without totally turning to mush when roasted. Cherry and grape tomatoes are also great for roasting, and take about half as much time!
**Remember: the snazzier the salt, the tastier the tomatoes. I used Maldon salt - it’s pricier than table salt, but when you consider how far a box of salt goes, I think it’s worth it!
***I baked mine for 90 minutes, which gave me sweet, drip-down-your-chin-juicy tomatoes. If you’re looking for something firmer and with an extra-sweet, roasted flavour, bake the tomatoes at 275°F for 2-3 hours or until they’re as you want them to be!
Tasty, Toasty Tomato Ideas
the bread + greens + cheese: top a piece of the bread with arugula, a few roasted tomatoes, and a small handful of your favourite cheese (I used Stilton - it was perfect!).
beans + oil + herbs: toss tomatoes with 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil before baking, then toss baked tomatoes with an equal amount of cooked white beans and a big handful of chopped fresh basil. Season to taste and serve warm. Or try out a similar recipe here!
fresh & dried herbs + pasta + cheese + greens: toss tomatoes with 4 cloves of chopped garlic and 3/4 tsp of chili flakes prior to baking. Once tomatoes are done roasting, toss with 1 lb of hot cooked pasta, 1/4 cup of pasta water and 6 cups of arugula, stirring to wilt arugula. Top with 1/2 cup of crumbled feta. Or try out a similar recipe here!