We can remember when roasted tomatoes listed as an ingredient in a recipe would have sent cooks scurrying to their cookbooks for an explanation. “Roast’’ and “tomato” were not words they were used to hearing in the same sentence. Even if they were compatible, they sounded like something best left in the hands of professional chefs.
As it turns out, roasting tomatoes is so simple it can barely be called “cooking.” If you can cut tomatoes into halves, arrange the pieces comfortably in a baking pan, and drizzle them with a little oil, you can roast tomatoes. Still, for cooks who are in the habit of steaming and stir-frying vegetables, we were curious about what we might be missing.
For more about roasting, we went to Shirley O. Corriher, a culinary guru who has spent years studying the ins-and-outs of cooking. In her book CookWise (Morrow, 1997), Corriher explains that when vegetables are roasted, the liquid released by their cells immediately evaporates, leaving behind a deliciously concentrated flavor.
Add roasted tomatoes to salads and pizzas, toss in pasta, or serve on top of bruschetta. Also try them right out of the oven, eased onto individual plates and sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Of course, roasting tomatoes is a natural for the peak of the tomato season, but even in the dead of winter, when decent tomatoes seem impossible to find, roasting is the way to go.
Roasting concentrates tomatoes’ natural sugars and flavors and gives them a buttery rich texture
12 Roma tomatoes or round red tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Slice and core tomatoes. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and sliced garlic. Bake 30 to 60 minutes, until juices have evaporated. Store in a plastic zip-top bag in refrigerator or freezer. You can also slow roast tomatoes in a 250F oven 3 to 4 hours. Serves 6.
Per serving: 45 calories, 3g fat, 0mg chol., 1g prot., 5g carbs., 2g fiber, 200mg sodium.
Look for Relish magazine, celebrating America’s love of food, each month in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin. For more Relish recipes and to sign up for our newsletters, log on to relish.com. To download our new tablet app for the iPad and our free mobile app, Relish Daily Dish, go to relish.com/mobile
Photo credit: Mark Boughton Photography; styling by Teresa Blackburn