Intensely Delicious Roast Tomatoes, for now and for winter.
people waiting for something besides food, please be patient. I’ll be with you in a minute, but right now
It’s Tomato Time!
although only because we have two gardens. The plants in Maine are pathetic – it was just too cold, too dry for too long when they were young. But the tomatoes in New York. Omigosh.
Bill ( 5’ 9 or so) in the tomato patch. Note the naked bases, disease-prevention at work.
The summer classic, with Pruden’s Purple (red), Malakhitovaya Shkatulla (green), and Hillbilly Potato Leaf (yellow with red streaks)
They’re all different sizes, as usual, but a larger number than usual are larger than usual
This turned out to be a picture of a scale, but what I wanted to show you was that the Brandywine on it weighed 2.5 pounds.
I regarded this as a significant achievement – until reports started coming in from various neighbors. Everybody’s tomatoes are ginormous. Al described her biggest Mortgage Lifter by holding her hands a basketball apart.
The problem with these great big juicy monsters is that they’re not easy to preserve. A tomato you basically have to drink is a delight when it’s raw, but all that juice makes it taste insipid when canned – and let us not speak of the number of jars.
That’s why the only tomatoes I can are
Intensely Delicious Roast Tomatoes
which of course are extremely spiffy just as they are, should you not have a bumper crop you have to save for later. A pint jar isn’t itty bitty, but with this recipe you do get almost 8 great tomatoes into it. Okay, 5 or 6, but still…
all you need is:
Heat the oven to 400. Line a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with paper. Cut the tomatoes into largish chunks and arrange them close but not crowded, skin side down - insofar as there is a skin side, giant tomatoes make a lot of chunks.
Drizzle a small amount of oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle them lightly with salt. Roast, turning the pan from time to time, until there is almost no free liquid and both paper and tomatoes are showing signs of caramelization, anywhere from 1 to almost 2 hours depending on original juiciness. If they look like they’ll burn before they cook down, just reduce the heat.
That’s it if you’re eating them fresh, with grilled lamb, maybe, or as part of a tapas assortment or in place of the mayonnaise in some tunafish salad that also contains diced sweet onion, roughly chopped oil cured black olives and a few capers.
To can them: Pretty much the usual for boiling water canning; there’s no need to pressure-can. Heat the jars while the tomatoes are roasting. Pack them hot, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. I process pints for half an hour, which is less than the USDA would advise but they tend to go overboard toward safety (at least as long as it’s a matter of telling you what to do).