A friend of mine is fond of reminding me that “good things come to those who wait.” I’m realizing anew that this is oh, so true as I make pomodori al forno – plum tomatoes roasted ever so slowly in barely bubbling, golden olive oil until they’re tender and a rich, dark red, then packed in garlic and herbs and left to sit overnight. When finally ready to eat, they truly are a heavenly reward.
Make these when you have a good chunk of time: an entire morning, afternoon, or evening. The procedure requires about forty-five minutes to an hour at the beginning, to slice and seed the tomatoes. Once they start roasting and the rest of the ingredients are prepped, you can putter around, do other chores, read a book or watch a DVD – whatever you’re doing, just be prepared to hit pause at least twice to turn the tomatoes.
Warning: don’t get too attached to your tomatoes as they will magically disappear once you serve them. My sister served these as an appy for Christmas lunch, and now I can appreciate the time and effort that she put it into what took us only minutes to devour. These pommes d’amour
are aptly named – they truly are a labour of love.
OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES
adapted from a recipe
published in the September 2008 edition of Buon Appetit
4 large (796-ml) cans plum tomatoes, sliced in half and seeded
2 cups olive oil
1 cup minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Half a head of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and sugar
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Take two large, glass baking dishes and pour in about half a cup of olive oil into each so that the bottoms are covered. Lay a single layer of tomato halves in each, cut side up. Drizzle the remaining oil over each and place the dishes in the oven. Roast for one hour.
At the end of the first hour, gently turn the tomato halves over. Return to the oven for another hour.
At the end of the second hour, turn the tomatoes again, and continue roasting until they are tender and deep red, up to another hour.
Place the tomatoes in layers in a large glass dish. Sprinkle each layer with the parsley, garlic and oregano, and a dash of sugar and salt. Pour in the olive oil from the dish until just covered. Reserve the tomato-infused oil for use in pasta dishes.
Let the tomatoes sit at room temperature overnight. They are ready to eat the next day, and will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks – if they last that long! Just bring them back to room temperature before serving – preferably on warm baguette slices spread with goat cheese.