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No, tomatoes are not in season. And yes, I know it’s better to cook with seasonal produce. But with six pints of cherry tomatoes leftover from some recipe developing I was doing for the July/August issue, I needed to do something. And because these cherry tomatoes had a mushy, grown-in-a-greenhouse texture and only so-so flavor, I was never going to eat them all before they started to turn fuzzy with mold.
So, with a gray Saturday afternoon of kitchen chores ahead of me (cleaning the fridge…fun!), I decided to slow roast them using this Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes and Sauce recipe. Basically, I halved all the tomatoes, spread them cut side up on a baking sheet, drizzled them with oil and sprinkled them with minced garlic, salt and pepper, then put them in a 300-degree oven for 2 hours.
The tomatoes were transformed! Instead of pale, mealy things that tasted like they were picked off a fast-food salad, I had rich, red, meaty slices which I cooled and put in the fridge. I put them on salads, I slipped them in grilled-cheese sandwiches, I tossed them with pasta. I even threw the last few into a bowl of canned vegetable soup. I can’t recommend the technique highly enough if you have mediocre tomatoes lying around. I now want to make them again and again, try the recipe with bigger tomatoes, add herbs…only I should probably wait till summer when the tomatoes will be in season and the results will be even better.