Ugly Tomatoes Make Beautiful Meals
The truth is, there are treasures hidden there. Find tomatoes that are firm and only slightly blemished and you will have found diamonds in the rough. They lack summer's full-blasted brightness. but tomatoes grown during winter and spring's weaker sun grow thicker skins and develop a rich, deep umami flavor.
But treat these tomatoes with care. Brought home from the farmers market and left on the kitchen counter in the sun, they will quickly soften and turn bad. They are used to cold, so place them in the refrigerator and they will last days and even a week until you are ready to use them roasted as a side dish for braised meat, tossed with pasta, served on steamed rice or mixed into soups, stews and braises.
Roasted Winter/Spring Tomatoes
Check each tomato carefully. You want firm tomatoes. A few blemishes are ok because those can be easily removed with a sharp pairing knife.
Heirloom tomatoes are especially flavorful.
Summer tomatoes can be roasted with a similar but different result.
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
3 pounds tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, washed, skins, root and stem ends removed and discarded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400F.
Prepare a baking tray with a small lip (about 1/2"). Lay a Silpat (non-stick silicone) sheet or a piece of parchment paper onto the bottom of the baking tray.
Cut into 1" slabs. Place slabs onto the prepared baking tray.
Cut onion in half, cutting from top to bottom. Cut thin slices by cutting from top to bottom. Place in mixing bowl. Season with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix with Italian parsley.
Spread onion-parsley mixture over tomatoes.
Place baking tray into oven.
After 15 minutes, using a spatula or flipper, turn the slabs over. Keep onion-parsley mixture on top to brown. Return to oven.
Remove after 15 minutes.
The onion-parsley mixture should have lightly browned. Carefully remove the slabs which are now very delicate from the pan. Reserve the onion-parsley mixture and all of the liquid that has accumulated in the pan. This is full of tomato-essence
To use as a side-dish, reheat and serve in a bowl. The roasted tomatoes are delicious when added to soups, stews and braises.
If not used immediately, keep the roasted tomatoes in an air-tight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for a month.