Slow-roasting, which caramelizes and intensifies the flavor of tomatoes and gives them a meatier, more robust texture, is a perfect way to preserve these summer gems. Once you’ve roasted tomaotes they’ll keep in the freezer for months.
If you do not have fresh thyme, use whatever hardy herb you like and have on hand. I use sage almost as often as thyme. (Perhaps because it is right outside my kitchen door.)
** If using plum tomatoes, cut in half pole to pole (stem end to blossom end or vertically). If using slicing tomatoes, cut in half around the equator.**
4 TBS. PLUS 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
About 5 pounds medium tomatoes ( about 12 or so), NOT cored
1 TBS. balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
3 TBS. fresh thyme leaves ( or other herb)
Be sure to use RIMMED baking sheets. There is going to be lots of tomatoey-olive oil juice released during baking.
Heat your oven to 350′. Line baking sheets with parchment. Coat pan with 4 TBS olive oil. I use a small, natural bristle paint brush to smear the olive oil around pan.
Cut tomatoes in half. Arrange the tomato halves cut side up on the baking sheet, rubbing the tomato bottoms on the olive oil in pan.(Yes, you may need to add more olive oil to pan). Sprinkle a pinch of salt on each tomato half and drizle with a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Arrange garlic slices over the tomatoes and top with a generous sprinkle of thyme or other herb. If using rosemary, chop fine. If using sage, cut into tiny shreds (chiffonade).
Pour remaining 1 cup of olive oil over and around the tomato halves.
Roast in center of oven until tomatoes are concentrated, dark with browning around the edges and in the pan and they will be quite collapsed, about half their height.(they will collapse even more as they cool). This roasting may take 3 or 4 hours, so plan your whole day around this, it will be worth it!
Let cool about 15 minutes, then serve warm or room temperature.
SAVE the tomato oil in the pan!! It is so very delicious on a spoon, drizzled over goat cheese, or make a vinaigrette for salad.
Roasted tomatoes will keep for a week in the fridge or you can freeze them for a couple months.