Sunday, February 17, 2008

Roasted Tomatoes

When life gave me five pounds of crappy supermarket tomatoes last week, I considered tossing them. But, as often happens, my thrifty Soviet housewife side came through. What do you mean toss them, I thought. My grandmother almost starved to death during World War II—I can’t waste food. Growing up, I often heard the saying “a Soviet housewife can make candy out of s#*t,” meaning, of course, that Russian women developed a knack for making good food using inferior ingredients. These days it’s all about the fresh, local and organic, but resourceful cooks will find a home for those squishy or wilted vegetables. Waste is for amateurs.
Here’s an example: It often surprises me how much the most underripe, out-of-season supermarket tomatoes benefit from roasting. I’ve blogged about successfully roasting cherry tomatoes, but even the usually useless Roma and beefsteak tomatoes are pretty good after some time in the oven. All you do is slice them up and put them in a foil-lined pan with a couple of teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, and a good splash each of red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Add some red pepper flakes and ground pepper, too, if you like. I usually toss in a handful of peeled garlic cloves. Roast at 400 for an hour, an hour and a half. The tomatoes will release a lot of juice; they’re done when the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes are shrunken and blistery. Let cool; they taste best at room temperature.

I often add these to salads, but they’re limitless in their use. This time I roasted some red and orange peppers alongside and made pepper and tomato salad the next day. And here's another recipe that promises to transform winter tomatoes into something edible.

6 comments:

adele said...

I keep hearing wonderful things about roasted tomatoes, but I can never quite bring myself to buy tomatoes at the supermarket during winter. Your photos are sorely tempting, however...

Yulinka said...

Adele--The transformation that happens in the oven is pretty amazing. I roast a lot of lackluster veggies, and even fruit. Roasted grapes and cherries are delicious.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

Did you get five pounds of crappy tomatoes?

ps. did you have caucuses or primaries in WI today?\

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I meant to say "why on earth did you get five pounds of crappy tomatoes?"

- AbsolutStoli said...

aside from using these on salads, freshly roasted tomatoes are AWESOME as the "sauce" to cheese vareniki/tortolini. what happens is all the juices from the tomato act as a self-contained sauce when you eat it all together, but the presentation is really clean and nice because the pasta isnt swimming in sauce.

Yulinka said...

Chocolate lady--My boyfriend gave me the tomatoes. He didn't know what to do with them and I didn't have the heart to turn them down. (He got them from his aunt.)Yes, we had the primaries here in WI yesterday.

AbsolutStoli--Yes, roasted tomatoes are great as sauce. But they're go well with nearly everything. I like them with soft cheese on bread or crackers.

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