Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seeing Red

I love this time of year when all the vegetables are at their peak and the first of the fall fruits are being harvested. You will see lots of new varieties of apples this year too.

But the best tomatoes are available now and now's the time to really enjoy them. And if you are looking for some new ideas of what to do with them I have got a suggestion for you!

Two words. Tomato Confit. Or perhaps the more modern title, Oven Roasted Tomatoes. Either way you speak it, this is perhaps the best way to draw out the natural sweetness that tomatoes possess. The variety that works best is the Roma.

Here is what to do but have patience because when we say "low and slow" we mean low and slow! (low oven temp and 3 hours roasting time)

Tomato Confit

1.5-2 lbs of Roma tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 sprigs of fresh thyme ( I used lemon thyme)
1 tbsp coarse salt

2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 head of garlic, all cloves peeled and halved

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 280
°F. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise. Scatter the fennel, thyme, salt and pepper over the base of an oven proof baking dish, large enough for the tomatoes to fit snuggly in a single layer. Arrange the tomatoes over the seasonings, tuck the garlic in and pour the olive oil over the whole thing. Roast for 3 hours, basting every 40 minutes or so with the oil and juices from the tomatoes, being careful not to disturb tomatoes too much.

This is what they will look like when done. So worth it!

You can serve the tomatoes as they are, straight from the dish, with some crusty bread, or you can do what I did which was serve them over pasta, with some feta cheese, and parsley. they will keep for 4-5 days covered in the fridge too if they last that long.

Here is what I made with mine. It was so good!

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