Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow-Roasted Oven Tomatoes

You absolutely cannot define summer without mentioning tomato.  If you didn't eat at least one tomato straight out of your garden or from a friends or a neighbors, you shouldn't say you had a good summer.  Go ahead and buy them from a local farmer's market, those are good too.  Fresh and local, that is of importance.  If you, like me, have put up with the shitty, tasteless grocery store tomatoes all winter as necessity sometimes dictates, then you plunge headfirst into the local tomato season, making all kinds of things to celebrate the juicy fruit.  Lots of BLTs with thick slices of giant beefsteaks.  Tomato chunks to start a fresh sauce.  Peeled and diced up for garden salsa.  Stuffed with blue cheese and basil, sprinkled with bread crumbs and grilled.  Sliced for a pizza.  Sliced for a tomato cheddar quiche.  These roasted tomatoes would liven up any salad, a burger or sammich, an orzo salad with feta and red onion, (my intention) or another rice/risotto/pasta dish. Snacking right from the bowl is also a welcome, if not addictive, way to eat your way to the end of a  successful season. 

 Slow-Roasted Oven Tomatoes

As many grape, cherry, or small plum tomatoes as you can carry in two hands. 
6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Fire up the oven to 235F, rack in middle.  Wash tomatoes, then slice in half and layer cut-side up on a large sheet pan.  Sprinkle in the garlic, then season with kosher or sea salt and black pepper.  Splash some EVOO in there, then get your hands on your food- toss well and then lay the tomatoes back to cut-side up.  Roast for about 2.5-3 hrs, rotating the rack halfway through.  Remove to a rack to cool and keep these for a few days in a container uncovered, to assist in drying them out as much as possible.  After a couple days they can be covered and again left at room temp, do not refrigerate.  Not that it matters, you'll be grabbing one or two of these every time you walk past the bowl, conveniently situated on the kitchen counter, within easy reach.  If you want to keep them long-term, pack into a glass jar and cover with EVOO.  Don't add the garlic cloves, unless you like botulism.  It's not for me, personally.  

I've never seen peppers grow upside down before, but apparently it's quite normal for some types.  These chili de Arbol are orientated quite the opposite of the jalapeno, which is too fat to achieve such defiance of gravity. 

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