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Oven-Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic

Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic

I know it’s a bit of a cliche for a food blog to have a post about roasted tomatoes, but I don’t care. I’ve had a batch of tomatoes roasting in the oven for about 6 hours now and the smell is driving me crazy. I have nothing else on the brain but those tomatoes…how many I’m just going to pluck off the sheet and eat, how many I might have on a toasted rustic deli roll from Acme Bread Company, how many I’ll try to save for a creamy pasta sauce, and how many will vanish every time Rourke cruises by the tray as it’s cooling. Argh, WHY must they take so long to cook?!?!

The first summer I tackled roasted tomatoes I was overwhelmed by the number of blog posts about it. I imagine it’s only gotten worse. Everyone has their own favorite method — cut side up or cut side down? 200 degrees F for 8 hours? 175 degrees F for 12 hours? 350 degrees for 4 hours? what herbs and seasonings?

After some trial and error of my own last summer, I’ve settled on my preferences:

  • I like San Marzano tomatoes.
  • For the most part, you need to use a roma-type tomato, i.e. one that is fleshier than it is juicy. Otherwise the juice in the tomato will take forever to evaporate.
  • I’ve tried cherry tomatoes and they don’t work as well for me. Too much skin or something.
  • I roast them cut side up.
  • Seems like if you roast them cut side down, some like to call this tomato confit. I didn’t bother trying this method because if you do it this way, you’re supposed to slip the roasted tomatoes out of their skin after you pull them out of the oven. That is too much work for me. Messy-sounding, too.
  • I use whole peeled garlic cloves, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Then drizzle olive oil all over it — a few tablespoons worth. If you intend to store any of these tomatoes I would drizzle a little more, since you can use the oil to cover the tomatoes in the jar.
  • I roast them in the oven at 225 degrees F until they look like the below picture. Usually about 7 hours or so. If I start to get impatient, I crank the oven up to 300 degrees F around the 6 hour mark. I would love to try the 175 degrees F for 12 hour thing, but I just don’t have the patience for that. Some folks put it in the oven at night before they go to sleep and deal with it that way, but I’m just a big wimp when it comes to fire safety and won’t leave the oven on like that overnight.

Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic2

  • Always use a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not use aluminum foil.
  • Rimmed baking sheet so that your olive oil doesn’t run all over the place, and
  • Do not use aluminum foil, as it will react unfavorably with the acid in the tomato. I’ve never tried this myself to test this theory; it’s one of those things that I’ll just trust. I would cry many, many tears if after 7 hours of roasting tomatoes they tasted bitter.
  • To store, discard the thyme sprigs and put the roasted tomatoes and any garlic cloves in an airtight, glass container. Add enough olive oil to cover. Allegedly, it will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, but they’ve always found their way into someone’s belly before that. Keep in mind that in a day or two the oil will solidify. It’ll liquefy again if you put the container out at room temperature.

Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic3

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