Slow-Roasted Early Girl Tomatoes
This is one of those “set it and forget it” type recipes where usually I would hate to use such a cliché to describe the cooking mood I rally for here. Honestly though, every time I’ve made these slow-roasted Early Girl tomatoes and have actually forgotten them, I’ll check the oven after 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours and their just fine. You see, the beauty of these tomatoes is that not only are they easy to make but that the longer they cook they get better. Giving you time to cook the rest of dinner or for that glass(es) of pet-nat and kick-back time. The low heat and long roasting time concentrates flavor and texturally turns them into jam-like tomato flavor bombs. Perfect side to steak with a garlicky vinaigrette, in a hearty grain and greens bowl, or a fun cheese condiment.
I call for Early Girl tomatoes which are small to medium-sized round, red, and sweet tomatoes. Perfect for cooking. However, this recipe will work with almost any heirloom variety of tomato. Just make sure they are uniformly sized and that their sizing will change the cooking time. Cherry tomatoes for example will cook much faster than say large heirloom tomatoes. Also, my “set it and forget it” method involves some structure to when to check for doneness. Setting timers is part of that. No one wants crispy oven-dried tomatoes for dinner. One more thing, feel free to add aromatics like spices or herbs like thyme if you want. I sometimes add coarsely ground black pepper or orange zest.
Total time: 3 to 4 hours plus 15 minutes to cool Serves 6
15 small Early Girl tomatoes, fresh, ripe and firm (about 3 pounds)
5 tablespoons Kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Preheat your oven to lowest temperature setting. Usually between 175 and 200 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half across the hemisphere. With the flesh side facing up, salt the tomato flesh with ½ teaspoon per half tomato. Line a counter or sheet pan with paper towels and place the tomatoes cut-side down. This allows excess moisture to release while seasoning the tomatoes. After 15 minutes, place the tomatoes cut-side up on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan. Drizzle the extra-virgin olive oil over the tomatoes and place on a rack in the middle of the oven.
2 Set a timer for 45 minutes. When timer goes off, check the tomatoes, rotate the pan to cook evenly and set another timer for 45 minutes and repeat the process. Keep repeating this process one to two more times until tomatoes have wrinkled, shrunk by a ⅓ of their size and are soft, jam-like, but still have their overall shape.
3 Once done, take the tomatoes out of the oven and let cool. Serve with a more olive oil and crunchy sea salt.