Thursday, August 4, 2011

slow roasted tomatoes

slow roasted golden cherry tomatoes

August, we will forever get along, no matter how hot and sticky you get, no matter what you throw my way, for what you bring with you is quite possibly my favorite summer thing – a tomato. And for that, I will always welcome you with open arms. No hot house tomato, no matter what kind, will ever approach the taste, texture, and fragrance of the real deal that arrives to farmers’ markets right about now and stays with us until late September.

To grasp a ripe summer tomato, heavy and warmed by the sun, to me, is the zenith of quotidian joys. The tomatoes I speak of are fragrant and are full of promise of a knee-weakening meal, sliced on a tomato sandwich, turned into a tomato crudo sauce, or slow-roasted and turned into myriad things.

slow roasted golden cherry tomatoes

Tomato season is what I wait for, longingly, for ten months out of the year. The wait, the anticipation – are so worth it. This time of year, no trip to the farmers’ market is ever free of lugging several pounds of tomatoes home. I’m ever so careful with them – ripe tomatoes are delicate; they bruise and burst easily, and need to be handled with care. Tomatoes are always my last purchase, and they go on top of all the other produce – I’d rather have slightly dented lettuce leaves than a damaged tomato on my hands.

slow roasted golden cherry tomatoes

If they were sturdier, or I were a creative engineering type who could build a rack-like wheeled basket, you can be rest assured that many more pounds would come home with me. But be as it may – I have only but two arms and so I do what I can with my tomato addiction, trying to collect as many different kinds each week to display on our tiny kitchen counters.

slow roasted golden cherry tomatoes

This time of year, few meals go by with out something tomato-like on our plates. Last night, it was pasta with a simple lettuce and heirloom tomato salad dressed with a delicate moscato vinegar dressing. This afternoon, for lunch, I fixed myself an open faced hummus tartine, dressed with slow-roasted golden cherry tomatoes. If you’ve never slow-roasted tomatoes, be prepared to have a gastronomic epiphany – you won’t forget it.

I know that asking someone to turn on their oven, in this heat, for a prolonged period of time, is tantamount to picking a fight. Who wants to make their hot environment even hotter? On days when even the mere mention of the word kitchen makes me break out in sweat, turning up that oven dial is the last thing on my mind. And yet, for slow-roasted tomatoes, I make an exception.

in a jar

Something quite amazing happens in the oven, when the heat low but persistent. Somehow, the heat slowly persuades the tomato to slump just a little bit, to mellow out, and to get more, dare I say, tomato-y. It’s kind of like tomato graduation – reaching a higher purpose, a new direction. Slow-roasted the tomatoes remain every bit as summery and sweet, but more intensely so. That expected tomato acidity – it doesn’t so much as disappear as grows into deep, satisfying tang. It’s an instant meal maker – ladled on top of a crostino, tossed with pasta, or subbed in a caprese salad. Or you can just stick your fingers in the jar, fish them out, one by one, and eat them solo.

Happiness is a ripe summer tomato, or a slow-roasted one – trust me and see for yourself.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

1 pint golden cherry tomatoes, halved
3 fat garlic cloves still in their peels
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
A few pinches of fine sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. Line a jelly roll sheet (16 3/4×12-inch) with parchment paper.

2. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves around, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the tomatoes have wrinkled (not shriveled) and reduced in size.

3. Place in a jar, cover with olive oil and eat within a week.

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  • 1

    I love slow roasted tomatoes, and I can’t believe I still haven’t made them all summer! The great thing about these is that even though the oven is on for a good while, you don’t need to be in the kitchen to watch over them while they roast. We have a door to our kitchen and pretty much everything BUT our kitchen is air-conditioned, so I don’t mind turning it into a sauna as long as I don’t have to be in there! :)

    August 4, 2011 8:43 am
  • 2
    Kalyn said:

    I’m anxiously waiting for my Roma tomatoes to get ripe so I can make slow roasted tomatoes!

    August 4, 2011 8:59 am
  • 3

    This sounds delicious! What a great staple to have on hand during the summer. I can see these being a wonderful addition to one of my “tapas” inspired dinners.

    August 4, 2011 10:13 am
  • 4

    I’m right there with you – can’t wait for tomato season! They are finally appearing in the markets here in SF and the heirlooms are gorgeous. and to think – i used to LOATHE tomatoes – now I could almost (almost) bite into them as they are ;).

    August 4, 2011 12:24 pm
  • 5
    Georgina said:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one! I dream about slow roasted tomatoes all year long and greedily eat them up for 2 months straight! My favourite is adding them to buccatini with some basil and goat cheese. Simple summer perfection.

    August 4, 2011 1:26 pm
  • 6

    Yum. One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT with slow roasted tomatoes.

    August 4, 2011 1:36 pm
  • 7

    they would go down *so* well tossed into a salad here!

    August 4, 2011 3:59 pm
  • 8
    Claudia Tebaldi said:

    In my family these are made with a little variation (or two). Sprinkled with parmesan and fine bread crumbles (to absorb the water released during the roasting), and with oregano or basil.

    August 4, 2011 6:25 pm
  • 9
    Radish said:

    Claudia – that’s interesting, do you guys also roast for many hours at very low heat?

    August 4, 2011 6:27 pm
  • 10
    EB said:

    I love to make these towards the end of august when the tomatoes are just going out of season. It’s like preserving a bit of summer.

    August 4, 2011 6:41 pm
  • 11
    Madeleine said:

    Great post, and great writing!

    August 4, 2011 10:20 pm
  • 12
    Molly said:

    I take a page from the Silver Palate cookbook and slow roast my tomatoes with sugar. I’m intrigued by this savory route of salt and garlic, and know just what I’ll be doing with my latest pint of tomatoes from the CSA.

    August 5, 2011 11:24 am
  • 13
    Radish said:

    Molly – I forgot about that wonderful recipe. A great book, by the way!

    August 5, 2011 11:26 am
  • 14
    AnnieCooks said:

    O how I love these! This method can bring even grocery-store cherry tomatoes to a level of glory that they would otherwise not achieve. Roasted cherry tomatoes added to kale salad is this summer’s addiction (especially with avocados and a fresh lemon vinaigrette!) Ok, I’m hungry now…!

    August 5, 2011 12:04 pm
  • 15
    Claudia said:

    Well, actually I kind of cheated, we just bake them at normal heat for as long as it takes to make them shrink, loose their water, roast…sorry, they just looked very much like the ones we made!

    August 5, 2011 11:18 pm
  • 16

    We’re overflowing with gorgeous, ripe tomatoes just about the time the weather is turning cold here in Colorado. When I pull my plants at the end of the season, we generally make two full baking sheets of roasted cherry tomatoes but end up eating about 1/4 as they’re cooling.

    August 6, 2011 12:00 pm
  • 17

    These tomatos look gorgeous! I love all things roasted and this looks scrumptious. Beautiful.

    August 6, 2011 12:19 pm
  • 18

    The idea of tomatoes graduating is wonderful… developing into something even more delicious than in their unadulterated state.

    August 8, 2011 10:02 pm
  • 19
    Winnie said:

    These are beautiful Olga. ps I miss you ;)

    August 10, 2011 8:00 am
  • 20

    Ahhhh, yes. I recently made these on my blog, too. And I simply can’t stop making them. While I started putting them in orzo pasta salads and roasted vegetable salads — I now pretty much eat them plain. Happy August, Olga!

    August 11, 2011 12:18 am
  • 21

    I just needed this little reminder..I’ve been getting (just a wee bit) tired of fresh tomatoes and this is just the incentive I need to keep going and finish off the summer’s tomato harvest! I love that you’ve roasted the little yellow cherry tomatoes. I only wish these would keep into the winter, wouldn’t that be something.

    August 13, 2011 6:15 pm
  • 22

    Haha! In a few weeks you are going to have a blog twin. I totally had no idea you were making these… and I did something very similar yesterday.

    Anyway, the fact is that they are amazing… there is so little work that needs to be done here, but it makes for one fantastic dish.

    August 13, 2011 9:32 pm
  • 23
    newlywed said:

    These look lovely. I have planted tiny jellybean tomatoes this year, and cannot wait for them to ripen.

    August 14, 2011 8:05 pm
  • 24

    I found your blog about a month ago, and I fell in love with it. It’s always so beautifully written and photos are so nice as well.

    August 15, 2011 12:40 pm
  • 25
    Radish said:

    Avocadorable – thank you so much!! i’m glad to hear it.

    August 15, 2011 3:14 pm
  • 26
    Amy Akers said:

    I have been slow roasting tomatos for the last 2 weeks and incorporating them into my family dinners and my everyday life. love them. Great on sandwiches and pretty much anything else. Awesome deliciousness!

    August 16, 2011 11:46 am
  • 27
    Robert said:

    Interesting that you turn your tomatoes cut side up – I always roast my tomatoes cut side down. This way you can also make a bed of fresh herbs (and thinly sliced garlic), so the tomatoes get a richer flavor.
    btw: beautiful photos!

    August 17, 2011 5:29 pm
  • 28

    I love roasted tomatoes so no one can believe that and I thank you very much on rare and useful article ,thanks RADISH for giving us nice info

    September 1, 2011 1:16 pm
  • 29

    […] you’re looking to make the most of our last tomatoes, consider this recipe from Sassy Radish: slow roasted tomatoes. Smitten Kitchen also does a very similar version, but the process is the same: low, slow heat for […]

    September 29, 2011 9:01 am
  • 30
    Leah said:

    Oh dear they are so adorable! Yum!

    October 13, 2011 3:10 pm

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