I don’t need a special reason to post these melty, amazing, swoon-producing, bursting-with-flavor, crowd-appeasing roasted tomatoes, instead of the zucchini tart I promised I’d post next, but the cherry tomato plants in my garden are insisting that NOW is the time. Pick me NOW they are saying. EAT ME NOW! I’m sweet and juicy and unlike any middle-of-the-winter hydroponic ones you’ve known. DON’T WAIT, YOU FOOL! They are bossy, but I put up with them because they are so pretty.
Also, this past weekend I did a cooking class party for Kim H. and her 13 guests at their gorgeous Chester, NJ home and promised everyone a copy of this deceptively simple recipe, that once sampled, demands to be replicated. The flavors, the versitiliy of the finished product (condiment, chutney, side dish, pasta-pizza-rice-sandwich topper) and the utter simplicity of the recipe, make this a revelation and a joy for everyone, regardless of their skill level. I have more requests, more feedback, more comments and emails for this recipe, than any other…so I too think it’s time to finally post. I usually provide everyone in my parties with copies of all the recipes we do, but this past week, I added the tomatoes as an after thought, arriving 30 minutes early to throw them in the oven so guests would have a bite to eat early on in the class. It’s hard enough to keep everyone’s attention for cooking at these weekend, couples’-night-out events, when the wine starts flowing early, but even harder if they are working on an empty stomach. So for Kim H. and her guests, and the rest of the world, in perpetuity, here are the goods.
Tomatoes.. Sweet grape or cherry variety. Yellow and red if you can find both. If not, just red. Smash some garlic. Preheat the oven, 400 degrees.
Place the tomatoes in a baking dish with the garlic. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt, pepper, throw in some rosemary leaves and thyme (fresh is better, but dry will do in a pinch). Mix it up well to coat. It’s ok that the oil and vinegar don’t stick together.
When it’s all done, (30 minutes or until they look all melty and carmelized), the juices from the tomatoes, the oil, the reduced and syrupy vinegar and the garlic-herb essence will all become as one. And your house will be infused with the most amazing, mouth watering aroma. Have some toasted baguette or ciabatta ready to slather these on. Or a nice piece of grilled or rotisserie chicken skewered on a fork to push these over and make a perfect bite. Or, pile these on a nice piece of fish, drizzle with a little more oil, salt and pepper and bake for 12 minutes. Or boil some pasta to a firm al dente, save 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain it, throw back into the pot with the pasta water and a few cups of these tomatoes and their juices, toss in some grated parmesan and then try to convince yourself you haven’t died and gone to heaven.
I make a batch of these using two or three containers of tomatoes (or my home-grown ones for now) every Sunday so I can always have them in my fridge to dress up or accompany anything, at any time. They are a staple in my house. They stay good for up two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge and still taste fresh, (but don’t count on them being around for that long)…just heat them up a bit or let them come to room temp to eat. If you are growing tomatoes, but not the small variety, you can make this with larger tomatoes as well….just cut the tomatoes up into 2-inch chunks and treat them the same. That’s your FoodFix for now!
roasted garlic herb cherry tomatoes
1 container red grape or cherry tomatoes
1 container yellow grape or cherry tomatoes*
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( a healthy drizzle to coat
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves and thyme leaves (or a few thyme sprigs)
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic smashed
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional, but will help add sweetness to winter tomatoes and help along the carmelization)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss tomatoes with oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper and garlic (and sugar, if using) and spread the mixture on a sheet or in a roasting pan, or glass baking dish. Roast for 25-30 minute, or until tomatoes have split open, browned a bit on the top and look “melted.” It’s worth waiting until they are really broken down and melty, so don’t rush. You can gently turn tomatoes once or twice during roasting to re-coat with oil and released juices, but they will turn out beautifully even if you don’t!
*You can sometimes find containers of mixed red and yellow tomatoes. If you can’t find any yellow tomatoes, get all red. Organic grape tomatoes are preferable if you can find them.