from one generation to the next
I feel a sense of urgency as the warm days fade, a compulsion to enjoy as many sweet autumn tomatoes that I can before the weather chills. I find ways to include late season’s flavoursome tomato into my three daily meals. Sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil on toast for breakfast, wedges of tomato on top of smashed avocado at lunchtime and tomatoes every which way for dinner.
A friend gifted me 5kg of luscious ripe Roma tomatoes last week. I slowly roasted them in the oven to intensify their delicious flavour. Using some of the tomatoes as they cooled, we enjoyed a delicious warm salad of oven roasted tomatoes lightly seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a sprinkling of sugar, fresh lemon thyme, Meyer lemon zest and Parmesan oil.
Just like the remnants of the warm weather our tasty tomatoes will soon be gone.
This is how I oven roast tomatoes, not so much a recipe as a technique. Roast just what you need for now, or make a large batch and squirrel some away to enjoy over winter.
Pre heat the oven to 120C
Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthwise and using a sharp knife cut out the core taking the seeds with it. Set the trimmings aside to add to another dish.
Essentially, you will end up with 4 crescents per tomato of skin and the layer of flesh attached.
Place a wire rack over a baking tray and lay the tomatoes, cut side up in a single layer.
Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. This will help the juices come to the surface and aid dehydration.
Place to tomatoes in the oven for 2-3 hours. The house will fill with an intense aroma as the tomatoes dehydrate and although the tomatoes will be shrivelled, the flesh should remain quite moist. Do not allow the tomatoes to brown.
At this stage the tomatoes can be seasoned with herbs and served as a hot side dish, or they can be left to cool, packed into sterilized jars along with slices of garlic and fresh herbs. Fill the jars with good olive oil and store in the fridge.
To sterilize jars, place freshly washed jars in the oven for 1/2 hour at 120C. Bring the lids to the boil in a saucepan of water. Boil for 5 minutes.