Meatless Monday - The Transformation of the Tomato

Bowl of Tomatoes - The start of the transformation I love this part of the late summer which produces the sun ripened tomatoes that are always offered from the neighborhood gardens.   This week I had a plenty of small...

Bowl of Tomatoes  - The start of the transformation
Bowl of Tomatoes - The start of the transformation

I love this part of the late summer which produces the sun ripened tomatoes that are always offered from the neighborhood gardens.   This week I had a plenty of small cherry and small globes that I roasted as well as three pounds from the grocery that looked beautiful.   Today, I used the roasted cherry tomatoes to create a fresh sauce with onions and garlic. A few weeks ago,  I made these roasted Romas as an appetizer and as always they were well received.  The Romas slightly charred after the roasting have a caramelized flavor and a sweeter taste.  Sometimes I just serve these plain, other times I will add a small slice of Fresh Mozzarella and basil as a garnish.  This is a very healthy appetizer and is always a crowd favorite.  When I explain how easy this is, I often get so many questions that I have captured the process in pictures today.  In the dead of winter, you can resurrect Romas and create this roasted treat.

Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 pounds of tomatoes, I usually opt for Romas or Cherry Tomatoes for the best results
  • About ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • About ¼ cup olive oil
  • About 2 teaspoons Italian blend, dried seasonings
  • About 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • About 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • About 1 teaspoon sugar – this is used to cut the acid

Directions:

  1. Line a baking tray with Parchment Paper.  Vinegar and sheet pans are not good friends over high heat.
  2. If using Romas, cut vertically and remove the seeds and core leaving the shell of the tomatoes.  I find that 3 pounds usually fits well on the baking sheet.

    Sliced Roma Tomatoes
    Sliced Roma Tomatoes

  3. If using Cherry Tomatoes, simply wash and dry and add to the baking tray.  I find that 4 pounds of Tomatoes fit well in the baking tray.
  4. Top these tomatoes with a generous splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  I would guestimate this as about ¼ cup of each over the sheetpan.
  5. Generously sprinkle dried Italian blend, garlic salt and pepper over the tomatoes.
  6. Finish these with about 1 teaspoon or less of sugar to cut the acid of the tomatoes.

    Dressed Tomatoes
    Dressed Tomatoes

  1. Roast at 395 degrees in a Convection Roast Oven if you have, or just bake.  Check on these after about 30 minutes and rotate your sheet pans.  The Cherry Tomatoes will be popped and begin to brown.  You are looking for browning on the Romas.   The Romas sometimes will take close to an hour to caramelize, depending on your oven.  I really enjoy the Convention Roast setting on my oven, and my friends with the bake only option note that this baking process often takes longer to caramelize the tomatoes.
  2. The Roasted Cherry Tomatoes are excellent with other Roasted Veggies over Quinoa as a side dish or they are excellent processed with roasted onions and garlic and peppers for a healthy Roasted Tomato Soup.  Warning:  these small orbs do not do as well as an appetizer.

    The Finished Tomatoes for plating and serving
    The Finished Tomatoes for plating and serving

  3. The Romas are best served at Room Temperature with fresh Mozzarella and basil as an Appetizer.  Layering these like a deck of cards alternating tomatoes and cheese is a serving suggestion.

The Finished Tomatoes for plating and serving
The Finished Tomatoes for plating and serving

Depending on how I will use the tomatoes, I will often roast some garlic at the same time.  This roasting process is shorter than the tomatoes, so check on this about 15 – 20 minutes in the process.  Here is the photo of the Cherry Tomatoes prepared for the roasting.

Dressed Cherry Tomatoes With Garlic
Dressed Cherry Tomatoes With Garlic

Be careful not to burn the garlic
Be careful not to burn the garlic