Oven Candied Tomato Heaven
by Laura Frerichs, Tastemaker in Residence - Recipe adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rosetto Kasper
Do yourself a favor in the next couple weeks and turn your oven on. I know, I know, it's the middle of summer and the season of grilling, salads, and cool foods, but really you must try these amazing delicious bites of goodness called Oven Candied Tomatoes. They will make your house smell divine and they taste even better than they smell. Even we farmers who barely have time to comb our hair, let alone cook in August, make time for these tomatoes every year. I make them as often as I can and if I can practice any kind of restraint, will stick some in the freezer too. It is like tomato flavor concentrate, and they are amazing on a baguette smeared with fresh goat cheese, as a salad topper, with cucumbers, or just by the spoonful. The flavored olive oil that the tomatoes cook in is delicious in vinaigrettes or drizzled on those grilled veggies, meats, and fish you are cooking up this time of year. My favorite tomato to use is the multi-colored cherry tomatoes that we grow, but the most important thing is to get local, organic very delicious tomatoes and you can't go wrong. The cherry tomatoes, depending on their size, may not take as long to cook so do keep an eye on the heat the first time you cook them. Nothing worse than charring those beautiful jewels!
Recipe for Oven Candied Tomato Heaven
2-2.5 pounds of ripe tomatoes (cherries are very good here, but you can use any type of ripe, delicious tomato)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Core the tomatoes (unless you are using cherries, and then no need to core) and halve vertically. Do not seed. Leave small tomatoes in halves; cut slightly larger tomatoes in 4 wedges, medium ones into 6, and large into 8.
- In a half-sheet pan, or two 2 ½ quart shallow metal baking pans (not glass or enameled metal), arrange the tomato wedges cut side up, next to each other but not overlapping in the pan. Coat the tomatoes with the oil. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees and bake 30 more minutes, or until the edges are slightly darkened. If the edges are not yet colored, turn the heat down to 250 degrees and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Cool 20 minutes. Transfer them to a shallow glass or china dish or glass quart/pint jar and pour their oil over them.
- Let mellow, uncovered, at room temperature 4 to 6 hours. Layer the tomatoes in a storage container, pouring in their oil, and refrigerate. Or freeze the tomatoes in their oil in sealed plastic containers up to 3 months. Serve at room temperature. They will keep in the fridge for up to 6 days. The oil is delicious drizzled over bread or used in salad dressings.