But with some oil and garlic and some patience, you can create something that guests will fight over – if you decide to share. I can’t imagine how good this would be with Height of Summer Tomatoes – but who would turn on the oven for three hours in July?? Fortunately, winter Romas are cheap, so you can make this often.
2 pounds (or more) Roma tomatoes, cut in eighths (sliced the long way)
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (or ½ tsp dried minced garlic added midway through baking)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to your taste)
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, cut in ½ inch dice (optional)
salt and pepper
1. Heat the oven to 325.
2. Cut the tomatoes. Crush the garlic and dice the bell pepper.
3. Combine the ingredients in a shallow roasting pan. NOTE: If you use a rimmed cookie sheet, you will certainly have to clean the oven.
4. Roast for 3 hours, stirring twice an hour.
5. If you can resist the temptation to eat these tomatoes right out of the pan, leaving no need for creative use of leftovers, you might:
a. Use in place of fresh tomatoes in Mark Bittman’s Tomato Curried Scallops;
b. Layer on a grilled cheese sandwich;
c. Serve alongside any grilled meat or fish;
d. Add to salads;
e. Process with some Italian cheese and serve over pasta;
Other references to food like this:
1. I first read about something like this years ago in Laurie Colwin’s More Home Cooking (HarperCollins, 1993, pp. 111-112). She’d had it at “a very fancy buffet as a side dish…or condiment….Whatever it was, I tried not to disgrace myself by eating enormous quantities of it, but I was not successful. I could not get enough. Finally I snagged a waiter and begged him to tell me what it was.” The waiter said to take drain canned plum tomatoes and roast them with garlic and olive oil — for an undesignated “long time.” If you need more reminders that Laurie Colwin was a writer to be reckoned with, she concludes “With a loaf of bread and a bean salad, this makes a dinner I would walk through fire for.” ‘Nuff said.
3. Google “roasted tomatoes.” Have fun.