Monday, September 1, 2008

Tomato Days

It seems as though my garden has exploded and burst forth a glut of tomatoes for my wife and I. In the past few days we've had pasta with fresh tomato sauce, tomato-basil salad, tomato sandwiches, and perhaps my favorite roasted tomatoes.

Now I can't lay claim to the recipe that I used to roast the tomatoes (I never really thought that a recipe was necessary to enjoy such a simple thing). However, I have to say, this recipe made for the most incredibly sweet and luscious tomatoes you've ever tasted before.

The recipe is for
Pomodori Al Forno and it's from the September issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Specifically it's from the 'Cooking Life' column written by Molly Wizenberg (food blogger extrordinarie Orangette.)

The recipe is one that she adapted from a favorite Seattle restaurant 'Cafe Lago', and the process is really quite simple, roasting the tomatoes for a couple of hours on low heat in olive oil to coax out the natural sweetness and really intensify the flavour. Eating these luxurious, intensely flavoured tomatoes is such a treat. We ate ours very simply and unapologetically atop warm, crisp slices of good ciabatta. However, I'm sure one could gild the lily with some shaved Parmesan or creamy chevre. The tomatoes would be equally grand tossed with pasta.

Pomodori Al Forno
1 cup (or more) olive oil, divided
2 lbs plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh Italian parsley
1 baguette, thinly sliced crosswise, toasted

Preaheat oven to 250°F. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil into 13x9x2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange tomatoes in dish, cut side up. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup oil. Sprinkle with oregano, sugar, and salt. Bake 1 hour. Using tongs, turn tomatoes over. Bake 1 hour longer. Turn tomatoes over again. Bake until deep red and very tender, transferring tomatoes to plate when soft (time will vary, depending on ripeness of tomatoes), about 15-45 minutes longer.

Layer tomatoes in medium bowl, sprinkling garlic and parsley over each layer; reserve oil in baking dish. Drizzle tomatoes with reserved oil, adding more if necessary to cover. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.

These can be covered and chilled for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve with toasted baguette slices (and gild the lily with the cheese if so desired).

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