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July 30, 2020 1 Comment


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°


  1. Slice the tomatoes in half.
  2. Gently squeeze to drain off some of the juice and seeds.
  3. Place the tomatoes on a sheet pan.
  4. Season lightly with salt.
  5. Place pan into the 350º oven.
  6. Check tomatoes to make certain they do not burn. You want them to dry out but not burn. If they start to darken before they are dried out, lower the temperature. It should take about 1 ½ hours but that varies on the size of the tomato and how much moisture they contain.
  7. Note: tomatoes do not need to be turned over.
  8. Let them cool completely.


Now you have two options:

  1. You can freeze them as they are. When you need them, you can take a couple out, slice or dice them, and pop them into stews or soups.


  1. You can put them in a food processor or heavy-duty blender and create a paste. Pour the paste into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once they are frozen, place them in a labeled plastic bag.

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.

1 Response

Gindy Rosen
Gindy Rosen

July 31, 2020

Sigh. Reading this makes me happy, and through your descriptions I can almost taste the raw tomato, the baked tomato, and the thawed sauce. Thank you for another inspiration!

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