I’m taking a little break from my constant reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to tell you about the most delicious thing I’ve eaten all summer (and keep eating again and again), which is also the simplest. I mentioned before that we are up to our elbows in cherry and grape tomatoes from our garden. They’ve been coming in so heavily that there’s no way that we could possibly eat them all in salads, so I’ve started roasting them–and D. and I have become addicted. Something magical happens when you roast an already sweet little tomato: the sugars and flavors concentrate and it practically melts in your mouth in an explosion of deep, rich sweetness. (Someone fan me, I’m getting flushed just thinking of it!)
There are lots of ways to roast tomatoes, some requiring hours of time and various ingredients, but my way is much simpler and, I believe, equally delicious. I use only 5 ingredients– tomatoes, olive oil spray, salt, pepper, and water (or veggie broth)–and cook them for about 40 minutes in a pyrex baking dish. Using grape or cherry tomatoes results in roasted tomatoes that are still juicy rather than dried out since the skin prevents all of the juices from evaporating. Still, after cooking, the tomatoes are significantly reduced:
This 8×8-inch baking dish held 2-3 cups of cherry and grape tomatoes. Once they were cooked, I had about half that much, about enough for 4 slices of bruschetta:
(That’s Alanna’s Cowboy Coleslaw in the background, which was a fabulous accompaniment to our meal of white beans with Italian seasonings and bruschetta with roasted tomatoes.)
Bruschetta with Roasted Baby Tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a glass baking dish with parchment paper or rub it lightly with olive oil. (I really prefer pyrex to metal cooking sheets for this.) Add cherry or grape tomatoes in a single layer (please don’t use larger tomatoes or the time will be significantly different). Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and give them a very light spray with olive oil (this keeps the tomatoes from becoming tough but you can skip the oil if you have to).
- Roast for 20 minutes, and then stir. If they seem dry, add 1/4 cup of HOT water or vegetable broth. (Please use only hot liquid unless you just want to see your dish explode into a million pieces. Trust me.) Return to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes, checking for dryness and adding the hot liquid when they get too dry. (Don’t use more than 1/4 cup total, though.)
- Stir and check to see that the tomatoes are tender and sunken-in and the liquid has thickened. Some of the tomatoes should have started to break down a little. If not, return them to the oven for another 5 minutes or so.
- When they’re done, remove them and serve immediately. For brushetta, simply toast your choice of bread (I used a Kalamata olive bread, but a less flavorful bread will do; the tomatoes have enough flavor without adding garlic or olive oil) and arrange the tomatoes along with their juice on top. Prepare to be amazed!
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2
We’ve also eaten roasted tomatoes on pasta and as a side dish. No matter how many pans of tomatoes we roast, we never, ever have leftovers.
I’ll be planting our second crop of tomatoes soon so that we can keep enjoying this delicacy right up until winter. If you don’t have homegrown tomatoes, store-bought grape tomatoes will work just as well. But don’t be surprised if you become addicted!
Now, back to Harry Potter. 550 pages and counting!