Even the least enthusiastic vegetable gardener is likely to have tomatoes in their garden. And even the least enthusiastic tomato is likely to produce many fruits. In fact even a sickly plant will vomit up more tomatoes than the most maniacal tomato eater can consume.
That’s just the way it is. It’s nature, man.
So the enthusiastic gardener is really in a boat load of trouble come tomato harvesting time. I, personally, planted 37 tomato plants. 37. There’s one of me. 37 plants. One of me.
So far this season I’ve seen my complexion go from a shade of somewhat normal, to pink, to bordering on beefsteak. I’ve harvested 5 bushels of tomatoes from my community plot and a whole bunch (which is a technical term reserved only for tomatoes) from my front yard vegetable garden.
I’ve pressed them, sautéed them, made salads out of them, given them away, juggled with them and thrown them at anyone even remotely suspicious looking. Like the new letter carrier who I wasn’t warned about. I may hoard my potatoes, but I make up for it with my tomatoes.
My most recent venture into tomato hacking is roasting whatever ones I can find on the vines and then freezing them so I can have a roasted tomato sauce later in the winter when fresh tomatoes are all but a distant memory. For myself and the temporary letter carrier.
The short version of the recipe is throw some tomatoes on a baking sheet and fling them in the oven until they’re roasted.
The long version goes something like this …
Pick and wash all the tomatoes you can find. Plum and cherry tomatoes are best for this because they’re the driest, but any tomato will work.
Cut them in half and place them on an oiled baking sheet.
Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic (each cut in half) per baking sheet. If you like, toss in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Basil, oregano, rosemary … anything like that. I liked.
Roast them in the oven at whatever temperature you want. Seriously. It. Does. Not. Matter. But if you insist on a temperature you can do them at 400 for 30 minutes. That will get nice colour and caramelization on the tomato. Or, you can cook them at 325 for an hour or more. See? Doesn’t matter.
Update: I’ve found personally, I get the best flavour from slowwwww roasting them at 275 F for around 4 hours.
When it comes time to make these roasted tomatoes, you can revel in the glorious fact that the temperature does NOT matter. You know how you can never remember what temperature to cook stuff at? For this, it doesn’t matter.
The tomatoes are done whenever you want them to be. The longer they cook the more concentrated and sweeter the flavours will be. And that’s what you’re looking for in a roasted tomato.
When they’re done and cooled off you can just pop them into a freezer bag and save them for a a dark and stormy night. When that dark and stormy night comes, pull the roasted tomatoes out of the freezer, do that bizarre tomato dance I know you do and start cooking.
You can spread them on toasted sourdough brushed with olive oil, and top with some feta or goat’s cheese. You can warm them up, sprinkle them with paremesan cheese, stick them under the broiler for a second and serve them as a side dish with a nice roast beef or chicken. Or you can do the obvious and throw them at the letter carrier.
I mean turn them into a pasta sauce (which though delicious is way harder to throw).