Oven-roasted tomatoes, where have you BEEN all my life? I was initially just trying to avoid canning tomatoes when I stumbled upon this incredible way to process lots and lots of tomatoes. I can’t find adequate words to rhapsodize about the depth and richness of flavors these roasted tomatoes contain. (Insert noises of delirium.)
Best of all, oven-roasting tomatoes is NOT HARD! My mind has been racing through all our favorite recipes and figuring out how to substitute roasted tomatoes for fresh. Just try them and you’ll understand why!
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Start by washing the tomatoes well. This whole thing started when I was blessed by an enormous box of tomatoes out of a dear friend’s garden, so I wasn’t concerned about pesticides…just regular garden dirt.
I covered two jelly roll pans with foil. Any cookie sheet with edges or shallow baking dish would work. If you don’t want to use foil, baking parchment also works. Having those pans lined turned out to be quite important to me.
Preheat the oven to 325°.
I sliced the roma tomatoes in half and I quartered all the rest of the tomatoes. I’ve heard that cherry tomatoes roast well too. Those need to be sliced in half too.
I’m posting a couple of pictures of these sliced tomatoes because they are just so pretty. These are sweet, fresh from the garden tomatoes….and couldn’t be better.
I put all the tomatoes into a very large bowl and tossed them with:
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 2-3 T. sea salt
- 1 T. freshly ground pepper
- 4 T. minced garlic
After making sure that all the tomatoes were coated with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, I spread them out on a jelly roll pan, skin side down.
I put the pans into the 325° oven and baked them for 2.5 – 3 hours. The edges were just starting to blacken. Some of the juice in the corners also turned black. A few blackened edges are desirable. Completely charred tomatoes are not. Be sure to try a tomato or two…or three… when they start to cool off. Before they cool completely, remove the tomatoes from the pan and transfer them to a plate. If you let them cool down completely, they may stick to the foil.
Did I mention that your house will smell like some kind of Italian version of heaven while these tomatoes are roasting?
After the tomatoes completely cooled, I measured them into ziplock bags and froze them. Okay, I’ll admit, I made dinner with some…and snacked on some more. Okay, I was able to freeze a couple of ziplock bags before all the tomato vultures devoured them completely.
I can’t emphasize enough the complex richness of flavor that these tomatoes ended up with after the long roasting process. I plan to use them in pasta dishes, on pizza dough, and in bruschetta, for starters.
2013 Update: I just had to come back and add a few thoughts to this post. These tomatoes are now a stock item in my freezer. I also have gotten a lot more relaxed about just throwing a whole bunch of tomatoes in a deep roaster pan and letting them roast very slowly. Some varieties take a lot longer than 2.5 to 3 hours to roast because they have so much water in them. One trick I’ve learned for knowing when they’ve roasted long enough is to taste them! The tomatoes start out tasting a little sour. By the time they’ve roasted long enough, they have a sweetness and a “roundness” to their flavor.