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TOMATOES AT THEIR BEST—IT MUST BE AUGUST

August 13, 2019 3 Comments

TOMATOES AT THEIR BEST—IT MUST BE AUGUST

This is the season when tomatoes are at their best. If you are lucky enough to have a garden to grow your own then you know the pleasure of picking a ripe tomato off the vine and biting into it to find it is warm from the sun’s rays—bliss. It needs nothing more to make it perfect. I grow cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100s) on my deck so I can pick the ripe ones off as I see them and just pop them into my mouth. The explosion of flavor is so sweet that it’s like biting into a bonbon.

I love those vine-grown tomatoes so much that they are a part of almost every meal I eat in August. Because they are at their best, I want to capture that flavor so it is available all year long. The best way I’ve found to do that is to make tomates provencale, tomatoes that are baked in the oven.

I leave them in a 350° oven for about two hours. Most recipes for tomates provencale will tell you to add bread crumbs on top and not cook them as long. That is certainly one way to do it but it isn’t the way my family made them. The richness of the plain tomatoes that have not only cooked through but continue to dry out condenses the flavors as the natural sugars caramelize to create an intensity that I love. They are so good that as soon as they come out of the oven I can’t resist popping them into my mouth.

Use them as an accompaniment to lamb chops and roasted rosemary potatoes. Or chop them up and toss them into a salad. Add flavor to your sandwich by adding a few with smoked Gouda and black forest ham. There are so many ways to eat them that I find I always have to make more if I want to have enough to freeze.

Turning the roasted tomatoes into a paste is the best way to freeze them. It’s easy; just put them into a food processor. I freeze them in small containers and take one out when I want to use it. The paste will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks. Add a spoonful of the roasted tomato paste to flavor sauces, soups, sandwiches, and cheese spreads; let your imagination and your taste buds determine how to use it. Keep in mind that this roasted tomato paste has much more flavor than the store-bought tomato paste you’ve used to thicken your sauces. That is what makes it so exciting to use.

Note: This recipe is really simple to make. I give you as many details as I can think of to help you, so please do not be intimidated by the length of the recipe. And as with all recipes, read it through before starting; you’ll find it makes cooking so much easier.

Oven roasted tomatoes Provencale

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

I use a nonstick silicone baking mat such as Silpat to line the baking sheet; parchment paper or aluminum foil also work well. If you want to use the pan alone, brush a small amount of oil to help with clean up.

ingredients

  • Tomatoes—I buy enough tomatoes to fill two baking sheets. You can make just one pan if you prefer. Any type of tomato will work, but keep in mind that the larger the tomato the longer it will take. I like to use medium-size tomatoes or plum tomatoes, but honestly any sweet tomato will work really well. See what your farmers market has to offer.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil to coat the baking sheet(s) if you are not covering the bottom of the pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 350º
  2. Slice the tomatoes in half at their widest. Gently squeeze them to drain the juice and seeds. It will help them to cook faster.
  3. Place the tomatoes on a cookie sheets
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Place pan(s) into the 350º oven
  6. Check tomatoes to make certain they do not burn. You want them to brown but not burn. It should take about 2 hours but that varies per the size of the tomato and how much moisture they contain. Keep checking them—if some tomatoes are ready and are starting to burn, remove those from the pan and let them cool while the others continue to dry out. * Note: tomatoes do not need to be turned over.
  7. Once cooked, let them cool before placing them in a container to store in the refrigerator.
  8. They are delicious just the way they are. Serve them warm or cold.
  9. To use them during the winter months, you need to place them in a food processor until they become the consistency of a paste.
  10. Divide the paste into small containers and store in the freezer.
  11. The roasted tomato paste can be kept for two weeks in the refrigerator.

To add a rich tomato taste to your dishes add a spoonful to sauces, including your favorite tomato sauce, stews, soups, mix some in with dips or as a seasoning to boost the taste of a sandwich or salad dressing. You’ll discover how to use this tomato paste simply by tasting the result and trying it in new ways.

Tips on using tomatoes:

Do not refrigerate tomatoes; they will loose their flavor. That means do not buy tomatoes that have been refrigerated, they will be tasteless.

Salting tomatoes is the best way to bring out their flavor. Salt causes the juice of the tomatoes to come out giving you even more tomato flavor. Mix the juice in with your vinaigrette and sop it up with bread—so good!

 

What about you?

Do you love August tomatoes too?

Do you have a special way that you enjoy August’s bounty all year long?

Let me know; we’d love to hear.   Join the conversation!

 

 

Merci 
Want more:
Here is a blog post you might also enjoy reading. What you don’t want to hear in a Paris restaurant Here is the link to the post Click Here




3 Responses

Peter S Rosen
Peter S Rosen

August 16, 2019

Sounds marvelous.
One of my favorite August tomato recipes is “uncooked, fresh tomato sauce” served with your choice of pasta. Simply take those delicious August tomatoes, slice or dice them, and marinate them in olive oil, along with fresh onion, garlic, fresh basil, and melted brie, Also, add soy or tamari (for its saltiness), or simply salt, if you prefer. I allow it to marinate for several hours before serving on top of warm pasta. Add some aged romano or parmesan cheese too, if you wish. It’s served room temperature (no cooking necessary) and truly a summer treat.

ARLENE VAQUER
ARLENE VAQUER

August 16, 2019

P.S. I just ordered the Nordic Ware pans!

ARLENE VAQUER
ARLENE VAQUER

August 16, 2019

Thank you for sharing the recipe! I love my garden tomatoes. They taste so delicious.

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