Here is another gem from Seven Spoons, Tara O’Brady’s yummy, vibrant cookbook. We know that roasted tomatoes are pretty amazing, but this is a very unique and in her words, “beautiful” way to treat them. Their delicate flavor is intensified from the slow-roasting and she recommends using them as an antipasti, in a salad with peppery arugula and lots of Parm or squished onto bread or flatbread- all of which sound amazing. However, I have used them to top my pasta dishes and grain bowls in lieu of sauce, which is also highly recommended.
Beware, these soused tomatoes take about 3-4 hours in the oven, so plan accordingly!
The leftover oil once the tomatoes are gone is definitely something to keep and use as a finishing oil or vinaigrette, mayonnaise or marinade base.
(makes about 3 cups tomatoes, plus flavored oil)
- 3 1/2 lbs medium-large tomatoes, all approximately the same size
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, papery peels removed but left mostly unpeeled & whole
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
- 2 tsp minced fresh chives
- 1-2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
- a few splashes of red wine vinegar
Preheat an oven to 325°F. Stem and then halve the tomatoes through the equators and arrange cut side up in a shallow, non-reactive baking dish large enough to accommodate them in a single layer without crowding. Pour the olive oil on and around the tomatoes, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Drop 2 of the garlic cloves into the oil, along with half the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Bake until the tomatoes have deepened in color and are collapsed and shriveled, anywhere from 3 to 4 hour, depending on size and ripeness. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the oil and place on a serving dish, or divide among jars for storage.
Peel the remaining 2 garlic cloves and place on a board. Pull the leaves from the remaining thyme and rosemary and add to the fresh garlic. Pluck the roasted herbs and garlic from the oil. Discard those herbs and squish the garlic from its skin onto the fresh stuff. Add the marjoram or oregano to the pile and coarsely chop. Add the garlic mixture to the oil, along with the chives and paprika. Let the oil steep for 10 minutes, then splash in approximately a tablespoon worth of red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning, then pour over tomatoes. Serve warm or at room temperature, or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week or frozen for a few months.