As little girls, we'd eat tomatoes like apples, biting into the ripe fruit and letting the juice run down our hands. We also ate tomatoes pickled, marinated, or simply cut into wedges and sprinkled with salt. We fought over tomato juice that collected on the bottom of the tomato salad bowl, eagerly waiting to soak up its goodness with a piece of crusty white bread.
As a grownup, I discovered the joy of tomato juice in a bloody mary, with lots of Tabasco sauce. Sundried tomatoes entered my cooking repertoire, mixed with pasta and artichoke hearts or in a couscous salad.
Last week, as I was reading the last few chapters of Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life," I came across the recipe for roasted tomatoes. This is not rocket science - even Molly admits it. But sometimes I need a reminder of a recipe or a cooking technique that I haven't done in a while to get me inspired, and that's where Molly's recipe came in.
I used Roma tomatoes because they have a higher ratio of flesh and hold up better while cooking. Rather than roasting tomatoes on a cookie sheet, I decided to take advantage of my cast iron skillet. I poured a little bit of olive oil on the bottom of the skillet and bathed halved tomatoes in the oil (I didn't bother with removing the core, but feel free to remove it if you want). Once the tomatoes were evenly coated with olive oil, I arranged them cut side up and sprinkled their tops with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
I roasted the tomatoes in a 300-degree oven for 2.5 hours. While roasting, the sugars concentrate and almost candy the tomatoes. They come out looking shriveled up, darker, and richer. I store mine in a glass jar and eat them with crackers and cheese. They are delicious and I hope you give them a try.
I've had a bunch of these straight out of the jar, but they would be fantastic as a base for a tomato sauce or soup, or mixed with arugula and goat cheese.