Tomato Season

In the summer, I make a weekly trip to Four Town Farm to buy vegetables. My son likes to tease me about being a bit of a food snob, but what’s wrong with going out of your way for the freshest, just-picked vegetables? We live 15 minutes from a farm that supplies many of Providence’s best restaurants–plus, I have 90 minutes to kill while Miriam is at her horseback riding lesson. I call this efficient, and a really good time. What could be more fun than rummaging through piles of corn and tomatoes, fresh fava beans, lettuces and herbs, etc., and imagining what I’ll cook with them? 

Today, I grabbed 2 lbs. of small Roma tomatoes to roast. We first had this dish at Oakland House Seaside Resort in Brooksville, ME, where we stayed every summer for seven years until 2008. In those days the restaurant, now closed, served a daily breakfast buffet and five-course dinner with local ingredients. The roasted tomatoes were served as an appetizer one night and knocked my socks off. The tomatoes had deep concentrated flavor, but still retained some moisture.

Anyway, at home I cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, then placed them face up in one layer in a Pyrex baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and added several unpeeled cloves of garlic. 

I put them in a 225 degree oven for 3 1/2 hours, at which point they were tender and sweet. You can adjust the time depending on the size of your tomatoes. Mine were about 2 inches in length.

When the tomatoes are cool, if you haven’t eaten them all, layer them and the garlic (which you’ve removed from its skins) into a clean jar and add olive oil to cover. Supposedly, this will keep for a few weeks in the fridge. Fat chance.

I cooked some rigatoni, then tossed the hot pasta with the room temp tomatoes and some of the oil, threw in some  chopped basil (or you could use parsley or thyme), added a little salt, ground some pepper on top, and passed some grated Parmigiano Reggiano. With fresh-picked green and yellow beans, it was a light summer meal.

Unfortunately, it was all gone before I could take a picture.

I also bought several pounds of regular globe tomatoes, so one of my next posts will feature raw tomato sauce for pasta or pico de gallo or a tomato salad with the cucumbers I also purchased….


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