All Tomato, All The Time

“Oh no, not tomatoes for lunch AND dinner again today!” 

You’ll never hear that around here, where warm waves of tomato satisfaction wash over us each time we pass the three pots wherein are ensconced our precious tomato plants.  Sure, it’s the south of France and tomatoes are heaped on every available shop surface, but these are our personal tomatoes, fussed over, watered faithfully every morning, and fed the grounds from our morning espresso.  It’s hard to resist the temptation to just sit by the pot and eat them straight from the vine, but this recipe is so good that it’s well worth a moment’s self-denial for the eventual reward of serving up these treats.

It’s admittedly hard to choose, but I have to say that this is my all-time favorite thing to do with Roma tomatoes:

You know you want some.  Luckily for you it’s practically the easiest thing in the world to make.

Roasted Roma Tomatoes with Garlic and Basil

a heap of Roma tomatoes
a big bunch of fresh basil
lots of fresh garlic
some good fruity olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise, leaving the skins on.  Spread a thin film of olive oil over the bottom of an oven-proof pan large enough to hold your tomatoes in one layer.  Remove the basil leaves from the stems but leave the leaves whole.  Peel and thinly slice the garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350° F./180° C.   Lay the basil leaves all over the bottom of the pan.  Use lots.  Scatter the garlic slices over the basil.  Use lots.  Set the tomatoes, cut side down, on top of the garlic and basil.  You can fill the pan completely, putting the tomatoes shoulder to shoulder, but leave them in one layer.  Drizzle the tomatoes with additional olive oil, making sure that each tomato gets some oil.  Put the tomatoes in the oven and roast them, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes.  Keep your eye on them, they’re done when they looked collapsed and the skin is puckery and lightly browned.

Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool.  When they’re cool enough to handle, lightly pinch off the skins, which will be amazingly easy to do.  Salt and pepper the tomatoes to taste.  Store in the fridge.

With these little treasures you can make a sandwich, or stir a big scoop of them into pasta or over polenta.  You can add them to a saute of zucchini or eggplant, or use them to fill an omelette.  In fact, I think you’ll find that this is one of the most versatile things you can have in your summer kitchen.  If you dream up some great new use for them, please post it here for all to share!

And because a reader was wise enough to suggest that this site needs an index of recipes, watch for one to appear soon.  I’ll start working on it right after I eat that picture-perfect tomato sandwich.

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7 Comments on “All Tomato, All The Time”

  1. Nancy Says:

    You make me sorry I didn’t plant Romas. My tomatoes will just have to suffice, when they come ripe. Do all tomatoes like coffee grounds? Is there a limit to the amount or type?

    The recipe index is an excellent idea!

  2. Abra Says:

    Thanks, Nancy. A helpful reader gave me the idea! And now it’s all set up, so you can be the first to give it a test ride.

    Sometimes my recipes are pretty free form, but anyone should be able to cook from them, and if not, I’m always glad to help out with more details.

  3. Abra Says:

    Oh, and yes, as far as I know all tomatoes like coffee grounds. I’m not sure about the limit, so I divide ours among the various roses as well as the tomatoes. Maybe someone who’s more of a gardener will speak up here.

  4. Eden Says:

    I didn’t know I could give coffee grounds to my tomatos too – we use it for the roses. I never manage grow enough tomatoes to do anything but eat them fresh, but thanks for the reminder that I could roast up some toms from the farmers market!

  5. Nancy Says:

    I generate plenty of coffee grounds to go around. This is wonderful news. Our summer has gotten off to a cooler and later start than usual and the tomatoes need all the help they can get. Do you suppose chives, rosemary and sorrel also like it? What about potted citrus?

  6. Ray Says:

    how do you apply the coffee grounds to the roses and the tomatoes? and how often do you do it? Can you apply too much?

  7. zuleme Says:

    I do this and freeze them for sauce. I usually whip them up in the cuisinart first, they get almost creamy.
    Great to pull out of the freezer in January.


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