I have learned a new method of preserving tomatoes that I absolutely love. Absolutely!
Last spring when I was planning my garden I did some internet searching for recipes and preserving techniques. I was thrilled to find one for oven roasting. It's so easy, no mess, not time consuming, and the results are delicious.
This works best with Roma tomatoes. Taking a leap of faith (because I hadn't tried this yet) I purchased and planted 8 Roma plants in the spring. You can tell which squares have tomatoes because they also have marigolds. (Click on the picture to see better)
The picture on the right shows my lovely tomatoes 3 months later. I have been so pleased with the tomato production this year. Already our yields have been tons better than other years.
Back to the reason I'm writing this post - oven roasted tomatoes. I have made 3 batches so far and am very pleased with how they've turned out.
Did I mentioned they were easy? Oh, yeah! Just wash those babies, slice them in half, cut out the stem, and place, cut side up, on a oiled cookie sheet. I just brushed on a little olive oil. Stick a few garlic cloves among the tomatoes. I don't think this seasons the tomatoes but the roasted garlic is delicious. Then drizzle a little olive oil over the tops (about 2 tablespoons), sprinkle with salt and pepper, some fresh or dried herbs, according to your preferences. I've read that dried herbs will flavor the tomatoes more but I have fresh in the garden so that's what I used. Since I am going to be using the tomatoes in different recipes I don't want them to be seasoned strongly with herbs - I'll wait to season the dish.
I was making the second batch while Candleman was working at the kitchen table. He commented on the luscious smell of the fresh rosemary (I think it's one of my favorite smells, too) so when I had the pan filled I showed him how pretty it looked. He insisted on taking a picture. That man knows how to win my heart!
After all that work *smirk, smirk* you simply slide that cookie sheet into a 200 degree oven and let the roasting go for 8 - 11 hrs. Your house will smell divine - okay, not divine like when brownies are cooking, but mighty good in a homey, earthy sort of way.
When the tomatoes are roasted to your satisfaction, let them cool at room temperature before putting them in the freezer right on the pan. After an hour or so, put the tomatoes in a freezer bag. The pre-freezing makes it so you can pull out only as many tomatoes as you want to and refreeze the others.
My first meal using the oven roasted tomatoes was one Katie suggested. She had ordered Chicken Alfredo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes at a restaurant and was hoping we could duplicate it. We cooked the chicken, used store-bought Alfredo sauce and served it over noodles, but first we did a number on that bottle of alfredo sauce. We added roasted garlic (big, big help), seasoned it with some fresh basil and oregano, added fresh pepper and after it was warmed we added the roasted tomatoes. The sauce is a little pink after stirring in the tomatoes, but it was delicious! I can't wait to make it again this winter with some of those flavorful tomatoes from the freezer.
Another recipe I'm dying to try when it's colder - no rush, mind! - is Roasted Tomato Soup. If it's as good as it sounds I'll share that recipe.
In the meantime, if you have an abundance of tomatoes (I've read that you can use any variety) or can get your hands on some, you might want to try Oven Roasted Tomatoes. I wish I lived where there was a farmer's market cause I'd be putting up lots more. Here's to another month or two of good harvest.