Preserving Summer: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

If you've been wondering why I've been so quiet on the blog this week, it's because I've been busy at work preserving summer's bounty for the coming season--New York City style.

This week I took advantage of the incredible prices on local summer produce like sweet corn, prune plums, peaches, and tomatoes, buying three and four times as many of each as usual, then spending a couple days "putting up," as they say.

I figured I'd do a few quick posts to show you what I've been doing, in case you want to take advantage of the lush produce in your area. As excited as I am for the crisp Fall to arrive, I know that come January, when it's nothing but root vegetables and apples, I'll be glad for a few bright tastes of summer.

This method of preserving tomatoes is a simple one that you may have already seen. In fact, I share a quicker version of it a couple years ago; that version makes for an incredible quick dish, but this kind creates a lovely, sweet and juicy condiment that's wonderful in sandwiches, on pasta or tossed with quinoa or couscous. Even just spread on a slice of toasted bread with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. (For more recipe ideas, scroll down to the end. I've listed a bunch!)

In terms of storage, I keep a jar of these, topped off with oil in my fridge for weeks, and they freeze well too, so you can tuck a couple pounds away for one of those dark winter afternoons ahead.

I've used plum (or Roma) tomatoes here, but you can really do this with any kind of tomato you have on hand. Those lovely fragrant round ones sold "on the vine" would be great or even a few pints of little round cherry or grape tomatoes. Obviously the time will vary depending on the size of your tomatoes, but this is really something that is nearly impossible to mess up!

The only thing to keep in mind is that the longer you leave them in the oven, the drier they'll get, so if you leave them a very long time, you'll end up with something closer to the chewy sun-dried tomatoes (still delicious, of course) that the juicy marinated ones I've pictured here.

Oh another thing to note! The tomatoes shrink down quite a bit. That entire bowl of tomatoes (several pounds worth) shrank down to fit in that one small Mason jar (minus about 6 or so that Eugene and I ate). So make a lot--you won't regret it!

Recipe Ideas for Roasted Tomatoes
*Toss with cooked quinoa, wheatberries, or couscous and a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and fresh pepper for a simple grain salad.
*Spread on sandwiches with cream cheese and a sprinkle of kosher salt
*Add to grilled cheese sandwiches before pressing
*Toss with cooked pasta and a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese
*Chop and add to scrambled eggs with goat cheese
*Serve along side crackers or crostini and cheese when entertaining guests
*Heat gently in a skillet and serve on top pan-fried tilapia or broiled fish
*Add to a lox and cream cheese bagel sandwich
*Serve with slices of fresh mozzarella for a winter caprese salad
*Use to top off homemade pizza in place of sauce
*Layer into a lasagna
*Chop and toss with fresh ricotta cheese before stuffing into baked shells
*Tuck into pita bread along with grilled eggplant and hummus for a vegetarian sandwich
*Puree with Greek yogurt for a quick dip or sandwich spread
*Puree with hummus for a roasted tomato hummus
Have other ideas? Share them below!

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Print this Recipe

In-season plum tomatoes (can also substitute other tomatoes; adjust cooking time accordingly)
1 small head of garlic, cloves separated but skin still on
2 small shallots, skin on
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper (depending on the amount of tomatoes you have to preserve). Rinse the tomatoes, pat dry, and slice in half.

Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, cut-side up. Scatter the garlic cloves and shallots (with skin still on) around the tomatoes. Sprinkle everything liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.

Drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and let roast for around 6 hours (less if using smaller tomatoes), or until the tomatoes have shriveled to about half their size. Let cool and transfer to a clean glass jar. Top off with olive or grapeseed oil, seal jar, and store in refrigerator for about 4 weeks.

Tomatoes also freeze well and will keep indefinitely. Place in freezer bags or air tight containers and cover with oil (or use food saver to vacuum seal).

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