Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Tomato season is over,*womp womp*, so I'm kind of a jerk for posting this recipe now. Sorry about that... However, I resolved to post more everyday recipes around here, and this Summer we roasted a bunch of tomatoes and ate them in a bunch of different ways. For a few tasty months, they were a staple, one we never grew tired of. We served scoops alongside scrambled eggs, inside omelettes or on top of avocado toast. We'd toss hot pasta (+ a little pasta cooking water) in a pan with a generous portion of warmed tomatoes and juice, that's a good one... or we'd add scoops to pesto pasta, like in the photograph below. With the dregs sitting in the container we'd throw in a can of butter beans, diced capsicum, fresh herbs and shards of pecorino. These tomatoes, cold or hot, alongside roasted or mashed potatoes and grilled fish or meat make a lovely meal that always leaves me wishing I wasn't breastfeeding on demand and could accompany it with a BIG glass of wine.

Because we ate them often and love them so, I felt I should share the process with you so that you too can enjoy such deceptively easy year, when tasty tomatoes come once more (again, sorry about that). Indeed it is more of a process than a strict recipe. Try it once and the following time add variations as you wish. Perhaps you'll throw in some olives or mix up the herbs (thyme works wonderfully). You might even add boneless chicken thighs along with some white wine, like we did here - that works splendidly and happily feeds a crowd.

This is the kind of simple, versatile, everyday cooking we do. Let me know if you have any other ideas for serving the tomatoes or ingredient variations. Warm tomatoes on a bed of parmesan polenta with a drizzle balsamic glaze just came to mind. Gosh darn it, bring back tomato season!

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Makes one big tray. You can use two trays if you have more tomatoes (double the recipe/pare down as you wish)
A few handfuls of fresh tomatoes of the same or mixed variety (I wouldn't make a tray with less than six big tomatoes)
1 red or yellow capsicum*
1 to two red onions**
1-3 cloves of garlic***, skin on
a few good sloshes of extra virgin olive oil
a small handful of fresh basil leaves
a very small scattering of fresh**** oregano
a sprinkle of sea salt freshly black pepper to taste

* and ** Optional but lovely additions
*** Depending on how large your cloves are and how much you love garlic. You can honestly leave this out too but I always appreciate a slow roasted garlic clove to add to mashed potatoes or smush on toast to make "garlic bread"
****Dried oregano will work, but it's totally not as good as fresh. Try growing your own, it must be a sturdy, hard-to-kill plant because I have been growing some for 4 months and, incredibly, have not yet killed it.

1. Preheat the oven to 170degrees Celsius and line a baking tray (or two, depending on your quantity of ingredients and tray size) with baking paper.
2. Slice the tomatoes into quarters (or half if they're small). I don't mind irregularities in size when roasting, as I find it's nice to have some really sticky pieces with more plump ones, so I am not too fastidious when preparing my vegetables.
3. If using the onion and capsicum, prepare them now. Slice the onion (skin removed) into wedges. Try to make them thick but not TOO thick (sorry for the airy fairy instruction here) and try to keep them together, i.e. don't let the layers fall apart and sprawl all over the place, as this can mean you end up with lots of burnt onion pieces. Slice the capsicum into long strips a few cm wide.
4. Place the vegetables and garlic cloves (skin on) in the pan. Scatter the herbs on top, season and then slosh that olive oil over everything. Be generous but not ridiculous. Lightly massage the oil into the vegetables (remembering to leave the onion intact as much as possible) and pop the tray into the hot oven.
5. Cook for 45 minutes, give or take 15. The cooking tome depends on your oven, the amount of tomatoes and the size of your tomatoes. I tend to cook mine for 45-60 minutes. You will know they are done when they look rich, sticky and shrivelled, in the most delicious possible way. At around the 30 minute mark, I like to remove the pan and baste the vegetables in the pan juices. At this point, if the onion if looking TOO intact and the under layers are not cooking at all, I will use a spoon to press down and separate the layers slightly so that the inside gets some heat.
6. When cooked, remove the pan from the oven and then go on to use as you wish! Store the tomatoes and all the delicious pan juices in a container in the fridge and use throughout the week. I make sure to get ALL the juice off the baking paper by lifting it up and scraping everything into the container. I then also usually rub a piece of bread over it to get it all up. Pan juices, I'm telling you.

Heidi xo