tomatoes. oh the complexity of flavor! oh the sweet, acidy juiciness! they smell like summer. they taste like the fourth of july. and in the limbo of the winter/spring dance, i dream of tomatoes. 

sadly, this time of the year such fruits are pretty nasty. cardboardy, stiff, dull and lacking the necessary sweet smell and wild flavor. and, sadly, i just finished the last of my canned tomatoes this past week. no long can i relish summer in a can.

the last of the canned tomatoes
it also happens that this past weekend i made out like a bandit with two cases of grape tomatoes that were otherwise headed for the landfill. horror of horrors! while i admit, this is not the time of year for tantalizing tomatoes, i could not allow perfectly sound fruits to head to the dump!

sorting through the cases was a chore, but a delightful one. the sun, shining through our kitchen window, essential music swaying in the background, i sorted, sliced, seeded, and plopped thousands of tomatoes. 

a year ago, i discovered the barefoot contessa’s recipe for roasted tomatoes. this is an AMAZING technique which transforms the otherwise unimpressive and boring winter tomatoes into crimson pouches of love. these are lovely on salads, chopped in a stir fry or soup, layered on a sandwich, or eaten by themselves. the slow roasting draws out the quintessential tomato flavor. a summer surprise for the winter mouth.

tomatoes wearing oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dried basil, and salt & pepper
slow roasted tomatoes
(adapted from “roasted tomato caprese salad” in barefoot contessa back to basics)

*this recipe is very versatile. it can be made with more or less tomatoes than i list here, just be sure they all have room on the pan!

2 cups grape tomatoes, seeded and sliced in half
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
dried basil

1. preheat oven to 275.
2. put tomatoes in a roasting pan. evenly coat with oil, drizzle with balsamic,  and toss with your hands.  barefood contessa recommends 1/4 cup oil to 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, but i must admit, i err less on the oil and more on the vinegar. sprinkle with salt, pepper, a few shakes basil, and a pinch of sugar.
3. roast for 2 hours utnil the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize.
4. taste, relish, delight in the treat!