Just recently, my good friend Kirsten gifted me an amazing cookbook, the Tupelo Honey Cafe, which is not only rife with some tasty recipes (sweet potato pancakes with peach butter, anyone?), but also acts as a great guide to the Asheville area and its local food scene. Flipping through the book, I came across a recipe for oven-roasted tomatoes that was so simple, I couldn’t help but look at my vegetable bowl at the soon-to-spoil tomatoes. I knew what I had to do.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I often forget I have produce lying around, with no occasion to use it. Sometimes time gets away from me, or I just don’t want to cook. You know, the usual excuses. Whether I have tomatoes, potatoes or onions, I often run the risk of letting the perfectly good vegetables go bad, which is ultimately a waste.
The beauty of the Tupelo recipe was how easy it was to adapt to the ingredients I had lying around, and also how hands off it is once you put everything in the oven. I didn’t really follow it word for word, but the resulting oven-roasted tomatoes were tasty. Over the course of a few days, I used them in a ton of different preparations, too: served with eggs, spread on some baguette, in a grilled zucchini sandwich. My handful of tomatoes on the brink of rotting sadness became versatile and useful with just a few minutes of prep. Without further ado, my adapted recipe for simple, oven-roasted tomatoes:
1 lb (4 or so) plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp each of varied herbs (on hand, I had fresh basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, chili flakes, cracked peppercorns)
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix balsamic vinegar with your preferred herbs. Toss quartered tomatoes in vinegar, coating each section well. Let stand for 20-30 minutes if desired.
2. Place tomatoes in roasting pan, being sure to space out evenly. Place tomatoes in oven uncovered and roast for 45 minutes. Reserve remaining vinegar.
3. After 45 minutes have passed, reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove tomatoes from oven and pour remaining vinegar mixture on each quartered section. Season entire pan with a pinch of salt. Return tomatoes to the oven. Let roast another 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before storing.
The tomatoes will last about a week (unless you’re a little a piggy like me…), but fresh out of the oven and spread on a piece of toast might not be a bad idea either. Enjoy!