Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goodbye, Little Tomato

All summer, our kitchen windowsill has been polka dot city. That’s because we had a few rogue cherry tomato plants appear in our yard after we’d already put in plants at our community garden. So, it’s been the summer of little bursts, of teeny weeny suns.

I’ll miss them. They brighten the kitchen and are so easy to toss into salads, omelets, pasta and salsas. With the right cheese, preferably fresh mozzarella or Bulgarian feta, they become the day’s delicacy.

To preserve the last baubles for weeks to come, I decided to oven-roast the last haul. A couple years ago, I tried this with Romas. Exquisite. This year, I was curious to try oven-roasted cherries. A combination of Sun Golds and Black Cherries.

In search of a recipe, I dredged our shelves for our copy of The Heirloom Tomato, by Amy Goldman with photos by Victor Schrager. I mention it here because it’s one of the most looked-at books in our house. If a tomato can be erotic, these pages shiver. The names alone conjure vaudeville acts:

Dr. Carolyn, Sara’s Galapagos, Yellow Pygmy, Wild Sweeties, Blondköpfchen, Ananas Noire, Santa Clara Canner, Auld Sod, Tangella, Aunt Ginny’s Purple…

Shall I go on?

If you have late-summer cherry tomatoes, this is a quick, easy recipe you can make ahead and keep in the fridge for at least a week. Oven-baked cherry tomatoes can be tossed into linguini or served on a cheese plate with cheddar or Port Salue.

Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

1.    Halve cherry tomatoes and toss them in olive oil.
2.   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
3.   Arrange the tomatoes on a cookie sheets, cut-side up. Use parchment paper if you don’t want polka dot accents on your sheets.
4.   Bake tomatoes about 2 hours or until they are soft, juicy and a shriveled.
5.    Sprinkle with sea salt and cool. Refrigerated, these keep for about a week.

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