The Delights of Winter Tomatoes – No Kidding

Fresh winter Roma tomatoes taste like the spawn of cardboard and cotton, and not in the vaguely good way you might remember the cotton candy you ate at the circus when you were six.

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;
f. Use as a layer in a terrine.

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.

2. James Peterson has two wonderful recipes in Vegetables: The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with More Than 300 Recipes (William Morrow and Company, Inc.,1998, pp. 260-261), one for “Slow-baked Cherry Tomatoes with Herbs” and another for “Roasted [fresh] Tomatoes.”

3. Google “roasted tomatoes.” Have fun.

About susangainen

Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian. Abstract Painter. Writer. Teacher. Explorer.
This entry was posted in James Peterson Vegetables The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying Preparing and Cooking with more than 300 recipes, Roasted Roma Tomatoes. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Delights of Winter Tomatoes – No Kidding

  1. Pingback: Last tomatoes: roast 'em - Susan Cooks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *