Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

Earlier this month, I trekked to the local market to buy heirloom tomatoes. I love the sweet, fruity taste of heirloom tomatoes and I look forward to these all year. Almost all summer had gone by, and I hadn’t made any of my summer tomato dishes yet -often featuring basil or oregano, olive oil and, of course, tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes remind me of the many peaceful afternoons spent in my Grandmother’s company. In the summer time, when school was out, I’d stay over at her house a whole week or longer.  Our time together was spent in long hours of talking, tending the garden together, and taking her dog Phil for walks. By her side, I’d learn how to knead homemade bread, the secrets of making a moist fruitcake, how to season Mediterranean stew, and how to make homemade pasta. At some point during my stay, she’d make her famous, pillowy-soft potato gnocchi with a red pomarola sauce -a much-raved-about dish in the family. So, on the lucky evening when this was going to be our evening fare, she’d send me to the garden to pluck 4-6 tomatoes. When the tomatoes were chopped, the whole kitchen was filled with the aroma of sun-ripened, sweet, heirloom tomatoes, and I could never resist the temptation to eat a few pieces before she put the whole batch into the saucepan for sauce.  My Granny’s cooking? I’m telling you, it is the stuff of legend! It is probably because I spent so much time with my Danish-Argentinean Granny, cooking and gardening next to her, that to this day I love food and cooking and being outside as much as I do.

So… heirloom tomatoes are for me an heirloom indeed. I tend to make a classic tomato salad with the fruit… but this year I decided to go for something different. Roasted tomatoes are super easy to make and they are so versatile. They can be served over a burger, atop carnitas-filled-tacos, spread on a crusty slice of ciabatta bread, or simply as a side dish.  I’m so obsessed with this dish! It feels more like a dessert than a side dish! During the time in the oven, the tomatoes plump up, intensify, and slowly roast, releasing their juice and browning and caramelizing a wee bit. The onions and garlic add a very nice complementary aromatic tone to them too; the trick is not to put too much of it so it doesn’t overpower the taste of the tomatoes.

For this recipe, make sure to pick ripened tomatoes that are slightly soft to the touch. The more ripened… the better it’ll be.

Prep time: 10 min.

Baking time: 45 min.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe heriloom tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon basil flakes
  • course sea salt, to taste

Preparation: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Finely mince the onion, using a blender.
  3. Slice the tomatoes into rounds (or chop if the tomatoes are too big) and place on a baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the minced garlic, minced onion and coarse sea salt on top.
  5. Drizzle with the olive oil and, if desired, some basil flakes.
  6. Toss to coat.
  7. Bake at 375F for 40-55 minutes, or until very lightly browned.
  8. Serve while warm.

 

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