There is nothing quite as special as a sun-ripened tomato, hanging on the vine, so full that it drops off the stalk into your hand. Sliced and seasoned with a little salt and eaten without pause—the experience is pure hedonism. And this is the season to indulge.
But when the season is over, you don’t have to surrender the flavor—not if you take a little time to transform those tomatoes into a pantry staple that you’ll be able to enjoy all winter long.
One of my favorite ways to capture the intensity of the tomato flavor is to bake them. Tomate Provencale is a common way to serve tomatoes in the south of France. The tomato is sliced in half through the middle; the halves are topped with a mixture of bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, and olive oil. They are baked for 20 minutes and served as a side dish with fish or meat.
I’ve adapted that concept to create a more concentrated tomato flavor that will really boost your winter dishes.
Tomatoes—buy enough to fill one or two baking sheets. I prefer medium-sized tomatoes but the type is up to you.
Baking sheet—I either use a silicone baking sheet or aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the pan; it makes clean-up a lot easier.
Olive oil, enough to lightly coat the foil.
Preheat oven to 350°
Now you have two options:
When you want to add a burst of tomato to the dish your making, all you have to do is open your freezer. The flavor will be there waiting for you and that’s because you thought ahead and put it there.
That’s the magic of cooking.
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Having a party again is simply wonderful. Every summer, Mark, my husband, makes a gigantic paella and we invite friends to watch the process (trust me, it is a show) and eat the amazing results. The party always occurs between the 4th of July and the 14th, Bastille Day. Are you wondering why we make a paella to . . .