Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes

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roasted toms 2

This method of slow roasting tomatoes comes to me from my good friend Lisa E.. The point isn't to completely dry the tomatoes, just to concentrate the flavors.  When they're done they'll have a thick, sweet, rich tomato flavor and the texture will be moist but not juicy.  Because you aren't drying them, they can't be stored in oil or in jars on the pantry shelf as you might do with dried tomatoes.  If you make more than you can use, you can freeze them.  I recommend using a vacuum seal if you have one.  Otherwise just squeeze as much air as you can out of a freezer bag and label it with the date they were frozen.

 thick slices 2

Slice tomatoes thickly (between 3/8" and 1/2" thick). They are going to shrink quite a bit.  If you are going to roast romas, trim off the tough stem end and slice them in half length-wise.

 foiled pan with rack 2

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch all the drippings. Then place a drying rack on top of it. This lets the oven air circulate around the tomatoes for better drying out. If you don't have one, you can still make these, just put the tomatoes directly on the foil. They won't dry out as well but you'll still get the deepened flavor. A great alternative is to use paste tomatoes which don't drip as much. Lay the sliced tomatoes out on the rack closely together. (So you can fit as many as possible on one baking sheet). Incidentally, I always do two trays at a time. I do this because I can't make small batches of things. I like to make as much as possible. Some people call this "greed", but I prefer to call it SMART.

 oiling toms 2

Brush all top sides of the tomatoes with either olive oil or other cooking oil. This will help develop a rich texture. Everything roasts better with oil.

 sugaring toms 2

Sprinkle with salt. Then sprinkle with SUGAR. Lisa says this is VERY important. If you have used a slicing tomato then turn them all over and brush the backsides with oil and sprinkle with salt and sugar. You won't have to do both sides if you use paste tomatoes.

 baking toms 2

Put them in the oven and cook for several hours. Yes, I know, it isn't a quick recipe, but it is so easy I think you won't mind the hours they tie up your oven racks. If you do two trays of them at once, I suggest switching the trays between the top and bottom rack every hour or so so that they all bake evenly.

 finished toms 2

They're done when they are dried out a bit (but aren't crisp), are half their original size, darkened in color, and smell richly of tomato. There's no exact baking time.  It should take at least 3 hours.

So what do you do with these now?  You can put them on sandwiches with roasted eggplant, cheese, and pesto.  You can slice them up to add to pasta.  You can eat them just as they are.  You can use them to top pizzas with.  You can use them in a savory tart.  You can add them to soup.  You can use these in almost any recipe that calls for reconstituted sun dried tomatoes.



6 Comments

Ooh - thanks for this again.

I tried this last summer, but they didn't turn out very well - and now I see that I did not slice them THICK enough! I will retry this year.

i did these last year and stupidly tried to can some :( the frozen ones turned out divine, however, and combined w/ roasted garlic & cold rise pizza, made for some of the best pizza we've ever had! thanks for posting the nice in-depth technique! i can't wait to try the sugar!

Karmyn- I'm glad you're thinking of giving it another try. They are so good when they turn out well. The thickness they start out at is definitely important or they will either scorch in the middle or just fall apart. They shrink to about half the size they start out.

Do you think that this recipe would work for cherry tomatoes? My one Roma plant died in the 108+degree heat, but my cherry tomatoes are doing well...

I really liked your previous post a lot, the one about doing what you can. I tend to compare myself to those of my friends who are actually much "farther" along the homestead path, and forget that I am actually doing pretty well for a garden beginner without a lot of resources.

These look so divine. We are going into spring here and i am starting to plant my tomato crop.... i will save this recipe for when i have that usual huge crop, that all seems to ripen at the same time....

Thanks!
Al

I wouldn't do cherry tomatoes because they will become insanely small. I have one recommendation for cherry tomatoes because I promise that if you do this one you will never need to wonder what to do with an excess of cherry tomatoes again- http://dustpanalley.com/recipes/cherry-tomato-gratin/ I haven't had a chance to spiff it up and post it here, this link is to my other blog. Try it though, so easy, fast, and so delicious!!!

Al- this is a great time for you to compile recipes and different methods of preserving tomatoes, I love that about the beginning of the season!

Sarah Jane- sorry about the canned ones not turning out! You're right though, they do freeze exceptionally well. I wouldn't have done the sugar on my own but Lisa's tomatoes were so good I decided to follow her method completely and then she let me share it here. The sugar intensifies the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.

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  • stitchy1: I wouldn't do cherry tomatoes because they will become insanely read more
  • allison: These look so divine. We are going into spring here read more
  • alison: Do you think that this recipe would work for cherry read more
  • stitchy1: Karmyn- I'm glad you're thinking of giving it another try. read more
  • Sarah Jane: i did these last year and stupidly tried to can read more
  • Karmyn R: Ooh - thanks for this again. I tried this last read more