It’s fall now and the tasty tomatoes of summer are saying goodbye. I got ready to start my ritual of slow roasting trays of plum tomatoes and I decided to look back on the post I wrote in October  of last year. I’ve been doing that lately and occasionally updating the photos with a little note about which photos are new. (I’m embarrassed by how bad some of my old shots were.) This time, I was a little taken aback by how little I wrote. Just a year ago, which is really not that long ago, I tried to keep it down to just a few sentences beyond the recipe. I thought that the recipe was all that people really wanted. Boy was I wrong.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme 5

So, these slow roasted tomatoes are special to me. I learned how to make them during my externship at Aix (now closed), under Executive Chef, Didier Virot. These tomatoes were part of the signature appetizer (which I will also post about soon) that got ordered at nearly every table, every night. It really was spectacular, and that’s largely due to these slow roasted tomatoes. I heard they tried to take it off the menu once because the staff was sick of making it, but the customers wouldn’t let it it go, always asking for the tomato tart. It did kind of become the chore that no one wanted to do. It’s a lot of work and cases and cases of tomatoes turn into very little after they concentrate every drop of goodness. While you do it, your fingers turn into raisins, and it can just feel very repetitive. Blanch and peel the tomatoes, halve and seed the tomatoes, lay them out, salt and sugar them, over and over again. It could be your assignment for 5+ hours. But these days, since I don’t do a restaurant quantity, I find the process very relaxing. I can do most of it in front of the TV, pretty mindlessly. I make a lot when I feel like it and it stores well, so that I have them whenever I want.

The slow roasted tomatoes can be eaten whole or chopped up, served hot or cold, eaten alone or used like a topping or condiment. They can be used to flavor other dishes, mixed it into pastas or rice, tossed with sauteed string beans or some bocconcini. The possibilities are endless.

Consider the recipe just a guideline to get you going. I don’t usually measure while I do this (but I did measure to write this recipe)  and you can start experimenting with different herbs.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  • 6 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 9 sprigs of thyme

Instructions -

1. Peel the tomatoes. Cut each in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and liquid. (You can save the seeds and liquid to make sauces.)

2. Place one layer of tomatoes (cut side up) in a tupperware container with a cover. Sprinkle with a little salt and sugar. Place another layer of tomatoes on top, again sprinkling with a little salt and sugar. Continue until you are done with the tomatoes. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight.

prepared plum tomatoes

3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. While it’s heating, let the tomatoes drain in a colander.

4. Lay tomatoes on a sheet try (you may need two), cut side up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the thyme around.

before roasting tomatoes

5. Place the tomatoes in the oven and roast for 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Start checking at 90 minutes if your tomatoes are small. Rotate the pan(s) in the middle if your oven has hot spots. They are done when they are shriveled, flatter, but not burning. Eat or cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for several weeks.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes on pan

Don’t forget the oil. When you roast these tomatoes, you will get a small pool of oil on the pan. Scrape every drop of that into a bowl and use it. Dip bread in it. Drizzle it on fish. Use it! It is an amazing tomato flavored oil!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme 9

posted by jessica at 10:33 AM Filed under French, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.