Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tomato Tasks



So this is how I spent most of my Sunday afternoon: cutting plum tomatoes in half, scooping out their gooey ribs and seeds with my fingers and roasting the hell out of them. All the tomatoes in this basket came from one ridiculously fecund plant, a fecundity I rather resented about half-way through the slicing and scooping. But, come winter, when I pull a little package of these intensely flavored morsels out of the freezer and toss them with some pasta or lay a tomato-y ribbon across a sauteed chicken breast, I'll be glad I did the Ma-Ingalls-preserves-crops-for-Winter bit. Even though I really just wanted to lie on the couch re-reading a Donna Leon mystery.

Oven-charred Plum Tomatoes
Don't use this method for any but ripe-yet-still-firm plum tomatoes; most other types just cook down into a soupy mess.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil.
Cut tomatoes in half length-wise and remove the ribs and seeds. Place on the pan cut-side up. Sprinkle gernerously with salt and dizzle with olive oil. Place in a 425-degree oven and roast until shriveled and charred black along the edges. This usually takes a little over an hour in my experience, but YTMV.
After about 45 minutes, toss in some whole cloves of peeled garlic and check to see if a few of the smaller tomato halves need to depart the oven earlier than their bigger brethren.
When fully roasted, remove from oven, cool and store in small, freezer-friendly containers. I usually put one container in the fridge and freeze the rest.

5 comments:

halcyondays said...

wah! because of the great Texas Monsoon of 07, we had ONE tomato. ONE. So I am going to the farmer's market and getting a bunch of fresh ones and doing this. And come winter when all we can see is cottony tomatoes, I'll be happier with these. Thanks for the tip!

rowena said...

I can just imagine you there, splattered tomato seeds and juice occasionally finding their way outside of whatever recipient you were using to collect them. Despite the task, reading your post makes ME look forward to a tomato crop next season. We only got so far as planting hot peppers this year!

katiez said...

I also am sans tomatoes this year, sigh... the rainy summer but the blight on the lot..
I am feeding my preserving soul by fgreezing herbs, zucchini, and green beans...which apparently LOVE cool, rainy weather...
Oh yeah, made wine today...

Maryann said...

We are floating in tomatoes :) It can be too much but then in the middle of winter I long for them. It's a good idea to stock up like you are doing :)

Lydia said...

I love slow roasting tomatoes. It's easy (5 minutes of labor) and the tomatoes freeze really well. And there is nothing like pulling a few out of the freezer in the middle of February, when you are so sick of pasty supermarket tomatoes, and experiencing the full flavor of summer.