What do you do with too many tomatoes? Some people make sauce, can them or dry them; there are a multitude of methods of preserving tomatoes. My favourite thing to do with a glut of love-apples is roast them.
To coax the best flavour out of them you need to start with fully ripe tomatoes, preferably vine ripened, although at the end of the season mine ripen on the windowsill in my laundry room.
Wash them well and slice them in half along their equator. You can seed them by stuffing your finger into the cavity to loosen the seeds and shaking them out. Or you can leave the seeds but I find that some varieties are really seedy and those seeds can give a bitter flavour to the end product.
Put the tomatoes cut side up in a glass casserole dish, sprinkle with coarsely chopped fresh garlic and drizzle the works with a good extra virgin olive oil. A little salt and freshly cracked black pepper and you’re good to go. I like to take the time to massage the oil around so that each tomato is fully coated, just make sure that they go into the oven cut side up.
The length of time to roast them depends on my schedule. I think they taste best when cooked for a long time at a low temperature, say around 250F. Halfway through cooking I pull them out and flip them, at this point all the fragrant tomato juice sloshes out into the pan where it will cook down into a sweet, garlicky gooey syrup that I can eat like candy.
They’re done when they have darkened and turn really mushy, but be careful they don’t dry out too much, they’ll be murder to get out of the pan. I used to pick the skins off when they had cooled a bit thinking that the family wouldn’t want the chewy skins in the tomato dishes I make but I soon realized that I had an audience when I was de-skinning them (the gluttons would snatch up those tomato skins and scarf them as fast as I removed them) so I decided to dispense with that step of the process.
Sometimes I don’t have all day (and it can take that long if the tomatoes are particularly big and juicy) so I crank up the heat to 400F or more and do the quick roast method. This works but you really have to watch they don’t burn. A little black can be tasty, but a little too black and they’re just charred! I still prefer the mellow flavour of the long slow roast.
After they’re completely cooled I freeze them, usually in ziplock bags because they can be stacked efficiently in my freezer. I use these roasted tomatoes in pretty much any dish that calls for tomatoes. Try spreading them over slices of french bread, with the cheese of your choice and broil – heavenly!