I don’t know about you, but my counter is overflowing with tomatoes from the garden. From plum to cherry to various heirloom varieties, there are just too many tomatoes. But I’m not complaining, especially now that Denise has shared these easy summer tomato recipes. I slow roast tomatoes all summer and even freeze them in small batches for winter stews. – Maggie
Once I start seeing tomatoes in the market, I truly feel as if summer has arrived. For the past month, we have been enjoying some pretty amazing summer tomatoes. From baby cherry tomatoes to monster sized heirlooms, they have all been equally delicious. I am not sure about you, but I am finding the tomatoes in our markets to be sweeter and juicier than the past couple summers. Truly, it is bliss.
One of my favorite ways to enhance the flavor of these summer gems is to roast them. Slowly roasting them with a little drizzle of olive oil really brings out the flavor and makes them pop. After roasting the tomatoes, your options are wide open, and your imagination can run wild. I use slow roasted tomatoes in soups, over grilled grass-fed beef steaks, tucked between slices of a warm baguette with chunks of blue cheese or simply tossed with a big bowl of fresh pasta.
I discovered some exciting new to me tomatoes this summer, called strawberry tomatoes. When I first saw them I was drawn to their beauty. Gorgeous clusters of bright red tomatoes still attached to the vines. I admit I mainly brought them home because I figured they would be great to photograph. Once I took a bite, I fell in love with their rich tomato flavor, which was slightly sweet, acidic and tart. Oh, did I mention the brilliant color, both outside and inside, which created the most beautiful roasted tomatoes.
There have been cookie sheets upon cookie sheets of these gorgeous roasted tomatoes in our house, and the ones that actually make it past our lips have been turned into some amazing recipes. For a simple before dinner nosh, I simply serve the roasted tomatoes over toasted baguette slices, with a drizzle of good quality balsamic. The flavor of the roasted tomatoes is so intense that, this is all you need to add. Yum.
As well as enjoying roasted tomatoes as an appetizer, I have been tossing them into a Panzanella salad. This recipe makes a wonderfully light dinner. I simply toss some toasted ciabatta bread with a mixture of fresh heirloom tomatoes, roasted strawberry tomatoes and a savory dressing. The crusty bread soaks up the sweet juices from the tomatoes and mingles wonderful with the balsamic based dressing. It is a gorgeous summer-time meal.
Summer is still hanging on, and you have time to enjoy some of the bounty. Be adventure, play with your tomatoes and see what wonderful dishes you come up with. Happy August!
- strawberry tomatoes, small Roma or large cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 325. Cut the tomatoes in half and lay onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little maldon salt.
- Slide into the oven and let roast for 60 minutes. Check the tomatoes, if they have not reduced in size, continue roasting for up to another 30 – 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before the tomatoes are finished roasting, sprinkle with some fresh thyme. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Note: Total roasting time depends on the size of the tomato, normally it takes about 1 1/2 hours but I have had them take up to 2 hours.
Roasted Tomato Crostini
- 24 roasted tomato halves
- 1 baguette
- good quality balsamic
- maldon salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the baguette into 24 slices. Lightly brush both sides of the baguette with some olive oil.
- Peel the garlic and cut in half, then rub over both sides of the baguette.
- Lay the slices onto a cookie sheet, and slide into the oven. Bake the baguette slices until golden brown, about 3 – 5 minutes. The timing depends on how hot your oven gets, be sure to carefully watch, I have burned many batches. Flip the slices over and repeat on the other side. Remove the oven.
- To serve place the baguette slices onto a serving tray and lay one roasted tomato on top, and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Serve. Eat.
Roasted Tomato Panzanella
Inspired by Bon Appetit, serves 4 – 6
- 1 1/2 lb heirloom tomatoes, assorted colors
- 1 lb strawberry tomatoes, roasted
- 1 lb ciabatta, day old, cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 fresno chile, finely minced
- 1 large bunch of basil, stems discarded and thinly sliced into strips
- 4 tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- Preheat the oven to 425. Scatter the bread cubes over a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly golden; about 20 – 25 minutes. Stir every occasionally. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least an hour.
- In a small jar (that has a lid) add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and chile. Shake well. Set aside until ready to dress salad.
- Chop the heirloom tomatoes into bite sized pieces, and toss into a large salad bowl. Lightly crush with a wooden spoon, just enough to release the juices a little. Add the bread cubes. Toss well, and then set aside for 15 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and drizzle the dressing over the top. Lightly toss. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Just before serving mix in the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Eat.
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
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