This tomato recipe is my secret weapon for entertaining. I pretty much always make it when we are hosting brunch because it’s so easy, it makes your house smell amazing, and it’s a great compliment to egg dishes. There is no reason you couldn’t serve it for dinner, too, but let’s be honest–when was the last time we threw a dinner party? Most nights by 9pm we are drinking hot chocolate and watching House Hunters in our pajamas.
This recipe is all about the magic of slow roasting. Go out and buy the most horrifying supermarket tomatoes you can find–it’s December, this won’t be difficult. I like to use those dull red, rock hard plum tomatoes that are always on sale at Stop & Shop. Then slice them up, toss them with some olive oil, whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar to bring out the sweetness that I swear is buried somewhere deep inside. Then put them in the oven and forget about them. Seriously–I went for a 5-mile run while these were cooking. When they are done they will taste like something straight from a farmers’ market in July. I promise.
When you are working with an oven at such a low temperature, you don’t really have to stress about the time at all. You can take these tomatoes out after two hours or leave them in for three hours; they will be delicious either way. My friend Seth has a restaurant-grade oven in his apartment that is always heated to around 200°F, and he leaves tomatoes in overnight.
I like to serve these with just a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil, but you can also add a splash of balsamic vinegar, chopped olives or capers, sliced avocado, or (obviously) fresh mozzarella for a non-vegan winter caprese. I love to eat any leftovers over good bread spread with cashew cream.
Serves 6 as a side dish
12 plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh herbs (I like a combination of rosemary and thyme)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and transfer them to a baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil, garlic, herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper. Arrange them in a single layer, cut-side up. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until they are very soft and juicy. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with fresh basil if you like.