I always buy too many tomatoes, always. I am lured in by their sweet summer smell and bright colors, seduced by them as nature intended. I am partial to the boxes of ‘salad’ tomatoes, the ones that grew lopsided or not big enough, the ones that no one is ever going to take a loving picture of.
But as much as I like the not so perfect tomatoes I can’t help but admire the heft and texture of a beefsteak, or the oblong firm flesh of a roma, or the showgirl sparkle of the yellow brandywine, or even the tender sweet cuteness of the sungold. I love to eat them all still warm from the sun with nothing or with a touch of salt. One of my favorite meals is fresh tomatoes sliced on crusty bread sprinkled with a little garlic oil and maybe a little goat cheese crumbled on top. However, as a result of the tomato seductive power I often find myself in a scramble to use them in new ways and before they go bad. Now, I don’t usually go wild for cooked tomatoes, but this week I was determined not to lose a single tomato. It seemed that everywhere I looked there were pictures of roasted tomatoes, on magazine covers, online, in restaurant windows. I cracked under the peer pressure and found myself roasting the last four tomatoes of the week. The smell of the tomatoes cooking along with the garlic and scallions created a wonderful perfume in my apartment that I wish I could capture and spray around at will. This is simple to prepare and comes out so pretty as well, which lets admit it, is always a huge bonus.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes (or sauce if you prefer)
Serves 2-4 (2 for sauce)
4 medium to large tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fresh bay leaves (dried if you don’t have fresh)
6 cloves of garlic
8 scallions (red ones if you can find them, they just look nice)
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Wash and cross hatch the top of the tomatoes. Rub them with olive oil. Put one bay leaf in each tomatoes cross hatch and place in small oven-proof pan, I used a loaf pan. Place the garlic unpeeled around the tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Rub the scallions down with olive oil and place them around the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt then grind fresh pepper over them. Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil over the whole shebang and place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
How firm you want the tomatoes in the end determines how long you cook them. Take them out of the oven when done and allow them to cool. Place the tomatoes on a plate. Take the garlic from the pan and squeeze the now soft garlic out into a bowl. Take roasted scallions and chop them, add them to the garlic and stir. Sprinkle this mixture over the tomatoes for extra flavor.
To make a sauce out of this you literally would do everything you did above, put the garlic, scallions, and tomatoes in a bowl add 1 teaspoon thyme and oregano or fresh chopped basil and blend with my favorite, the immersion blender.