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Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

  • Prep 10min
  • Total3hr10min
  • Servings6

This delicious tomatoes are great in pasta, eaten plain or on crostini.MORE+LESS-


Updated August 4, 2016


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  • 1

    Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil (alternately, spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray).

  • 2

    Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and place on the baking sheet in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with olive oil (go light!). Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Cook for 2 1/2- 3 hours until the tomatoes are shrunken and darker in color.

  • 3

    Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes, transfer to a storage container and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar (seriously, I do mean a little). Close the container and shake lightly. Store in the refrigerator.

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Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes and Sauce

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This is a great recipe to make while you’re preparing for the evening, because there’s no need to stir or check on the tomatoes.


  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs.)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil


1. Heat oven to 300°F. Place tomato halves, cut-side up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Drizzle oil over tomatoes. Bake 2 hours.

2. Purée 12 tomato halves in food processor until smooth to make sauce. Use remaining tomato halves to garnish Socca Stacks.

Slow-roasted tomatoes

I am sometimes certain that I wait all year for tomato season, you know, the way a more normal person might be excited for the Giants to get back to the field or eagerly anticipate whatever sleek and minimal trinket Apple has coming out this fall. But for me, it’s just tomatoes. I eat them on eggs, in sandwiches, cooked and raw in every possible format from paste to pasta to chili and seriously, don’t even try to bring me a cream cheese-schmeared bagel without a thin slice of tomato on it. Alex did once and let’s just say, it didn’t go over well. Poor Alex.

I love tomatoes so much that I even occasionally take part in the blasphemy that is “sun-dried tomatoes,” most of which are about as dried out in the sun as I am this week–unfortunately not the case for either of us. But lets talk about what sun-dried tomatoes aspired to be before their dreams were co-opted by food packagers and evil-minded chemists: tomatoes roasted slowly at a low temperature.

If you’ve never made slow-roasted tomatoes before, prepare to have your mind blown because they’ve got very little to do with the aforementioned packaged variety in all of the best ways: they’re so flavorful that you might think you think someone snuck into your oven and doused them in both vinegar and salt, even if you did neither. They also have just the right level of moisture, dry on the outside with some juiciness left within–no rehydrating needed here. They can transform even those freakily perfect supermarket grape tomatoes into heaven on a plate, but if you manage to get your hands on the real deal from a greenmarket, well, I hope you’re sitting down when you pop the first one in your mouth.

And what to do with them? Namely, anything. Dorie Greenspan uses hers as a pasta picker-upper, or stores them in the fridge covered in olive oil, laying them over chicken, salmon, tuna or mixed vegetables. Heidi at 101 Cookbooks puts them in salsa. And I put them… in my mouth. Or mix them with white beans or slivers of basil. Or in my mouth. Or in salad. But mostly in my mouth.


One year ago: Oh look, I was gushing over the exact same thing. I’m so predictable.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with thyme leaves season with salt and pepper.

Roast until tomatoes begin to collapse, brushing occasionally with pan juices, about 90 minutes. This can be made ahead and reheated in the oven at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

What is confit?

Confit is a very old method of food preservation that uses salt and fat to create an environment inhospitable to oxygen-dependant bacteria. Historically it was used primarily for the preservation of meat.

In ancient times, cooks from central Asia to western Europe learned that cooked meat could be preserved by burying it under a thick, airtight seal of fat. Today the best known version is the Southwest French confit of goose and duck legs, which became fashionable in the 19th century on the coattails of foie gras – which may in turn have been an accidental by-product of cramming geese to get the fat for unfashionable farmhouse confits! Harold McGee On Food & Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

The confit method is best known in relation to its association with the cuisine of Southwestern France i.e. confit du canard or duck confit. Although these days we are much more familiar with duck confit, it was actually the goose variety (confit d’oie) that was more common in those times. In fact, Julia Child didn’t even mention confit du canard in her famous tome Mastering the Art of French Cooking, while confit d’oie was treated in two separate instances.

Another element of confit that’s just an important as salt and fat is that of time. Confit is known for a very low and slow process. The low and slow cooking process does several different things. When it comes to meat, it slows water evaporation and breaks down connective tissue, converting collagen into gelatin and producing juicy and succulent meat.

The low and slow process also gives the Maillard reaction more time to work it’s magic. The Maillard reaction is responsible for a complex rearrangement of sugars and amino acids, which results in browning and flavour development.

The important thing about the Maillard reaction isn’t the color, it’s the flavors and aromas. Indeed, it should be called “the flavor reaction,” not the “browning reaction.” The molecules it produces provide the potent aromas responsible for the characteristic smells of roasting, baking, and frying. What begins as a simple reaction between amino acids and sugars quickly becomes very complicated: the molecules produced keep reacting in ever more complex ways that generate literally hundreds of various molecules. Most of these new molecules are produced in incredibly minute quantities, but that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. Modernist Cuisine The Maillard Reaction

The Maillard reaction is all around us, whether we’re frying an egg or baking some cookies. The difference when it comes to confit is that the low and slow cooking process gives more time for increasingly complex flavours to develop, which results in a totally different experience than say pan fried duck leg. It’s why searing versus braising a cut of beef produces different flavours.

Confit is to deep fat frying what barbecue is to grilling. Low and slow versus fast and furious. J. Kenji López-Alt The Food Lab at Serious Eats

Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes

These do a tasty and colorful balancing act for any savory dish in the morning. Their texture adds a nice lightness while still giving some extra rich and interesting flavors. Don’t forget to pinch off the shriveled skins once they’ve been cooked—they kind of feel like paper in the mouth and they can get stuck to your teeth, which isn’t much fun.

Total Time under 30 minutes

Occasion Casual Dinner Party

Dietary Consideration gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or Less Yes

Taste and Texture herby, savory, sweet


  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 pinches of salt
  • 10 grinds of black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut off the tips of the tomatoes and their bottom core. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Toss the tomato halves together in a bowl with the oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up, and pour over them any seasoned oil that was left in the bottom of the bowl.

Roast until the skins are shriveled and the tops are lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Cool them to room temperature and then use your fingers to gently pinch off the shriveled skins. Serve at room temperature.

Slow Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce

As much as I love to cook, there are some kitchen tasks that I find absolutely awful. Emptying the dishwasher is one. It is one of those tasks that I simply hate. It probably has something to do with the fact that all of my cabinets and drawers are overflowing with various cooking tools, serving pieces, bakeware, and appliances — and every time I empty the dishwasher I have to unstack all of my leaning towers of cookware to find homes for things. If everything in my kitchen is clean at one time, I literally have no room for it all. Thankfully that doesn’t happen often.

My other hated tasks include anything that is fussy — like peeling pearl onions, pitting cherries, or stuffing little new potatoes or cherry tomatoes for appetizers (Which I have done exactly one time each. Never again.) This list most definitely includes peeling tomatoes. I love buying lots of extra tomatoes in the summer to freeze or make sauce, but I hate the thought of spending an afternoon in the kitchen scoring, parboiling, coring, and peeling tomatoes.

I usually do it because the thought of not having those tomatoes for my soups and sauces all winter long is too terrible. And let’s face it, for many preparations you just don’t want little tomato skin sticks in your recipes. So I suck it up and while I’m doing it, I try to channel my grandmother who would process tomatoes for what seemed like weeks on end every summer. The shelves in her basement were lined with the literal fruits of her labor.

But whenever I get a chance, I do everything in my power to skip that step. This year, I wanted to try a slow roasted sauce that didn’t force me to process all those extra pounds of tomatoes. I was really pleased with the result — the skins almost melt away after hours in the slow oven and once pureed, you’d never know they were there. And feel free to flavor the sauce any way you see fit. Obviously you could use a lot more herbs, add other vegetables (like eggplant, fresh fennel, or zucchini, etc.), cook ground beef, veal, or sausage in the final product for meat sauce, or go the fra diavlo route and spice it up with red pepper flakes or chiles.

All you need is a really big roasting pan (like what you would use for a big turkey), lots of time in the oven with the occasional stir, and a blender or immersion blender. And I promise, you won’t burn one finger trying to peel a hot tomato.

Slow Roasted Plum Tomato Sauce with Basil

Makes about 3 or 4 large jars ( or 10-12 cups of sauce)

1-2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2-4 sweet peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped
8- 10 pounds of Roma Tomatoes (that was about 36 large ones for me), cored and halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 t sea salt
1-2 t freshly ground pepper
2 t dried oregano
1 t fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
3-4 T red wine
Additional Salt, Pepper, and Sugar/Honey to taste
2 big handfuls of basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a very large roasting pan, combine the onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, fennel, and bay leaves.

2. Roast tomato mixture in preheated oven for 5-6 hours, stirring every hour or so. Put your feet up and read a book while your house starts to smell delicious. Or more likely, clean your house and fold some laundry.

3. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves. Puree with immersion blender or in traditional blender (cool mixture a little more if using a traditional blender and be very careful to keep lid off slightly and covered with a towel so the steam can escape).

4. Add red wine and taste for seasoning –adding more salt or pepper if needed. And if your tomatoes are on the acidic side, you might need to add more honey or sugar.

5. Stir in chopped basil and serve as is or put in containers to freeze.

Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

For one of those days when you haven't got anything better to do.

I discovered this recipe for Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes while browsing through my Legal Seafoods Cookbook. They have great seafood recipes too, but this was the one that jumped out at me.

I love tomatoes. I usually buy the vine-ripened kind or the large beefsteak tomatoes that are delicious with just salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Almost never will I purchase the Roma variety- just not as much flavor there. This recipe uses Roma (plum) tomatoes, and my pathetic local market carried some beautiful red, unblemished ones in the middle of January!

Slice the tomatoes in half and place them in a non-reactive pan (like a pyrex).

Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried thyme.

Scatter peeled garlic cloves.

Spoon balsamic vinegar onto the tomatoes.

Bake at a low heat. for a long time. The end result. an enjoyable side dish to fish (or meat). We had these with the calamari that I blogged about yesterday. Was the all-day cooking venture worth it? Yes. It actually was a very easy dish to prepare. You just need to be home to eyeball it, and be patient. Enjoy!

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Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes

This recipe was originally published in October of 2014, and is one of may favourite ways to roast tomatoes. I usually make this recipe in the early autumn when the plum tomatoes are in abundance, but this recipe works wonders for tomatoes in winter too - the slow roasting brings out the intense flavours.

Cut the tomatoes, place in a glass rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add fresh herbs, and roast for hours .

The tomatoes literally melt in your mouth.

Tomatoes on warm bread with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

What I should be doing: I really should be raking the leaves, (I think I will leave that for Gordy).

What I am doing: Wondering what to do with a big bowl of plum tomatoes.

New love: Oven roasted tomatoes, you can add them to just about anything.

FYI: I wish you were here because the house smells of garlic and rosemary.

BTW: The leaves still need to be raked, Gordy where are you?

Slow Roasted Plum Tomatoes


2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
handful of fresh thyme
a few spring of fresh rosemary
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 pound tomatoes, any variety

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF
2. Pour olive oil into a baking dish.
3. Cut tomatoes in half and place in the baking dish.
4. Toss tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs and salt and pepper.
5. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, cut side up
6. Bake for about two hours, or until the tomatoes are soft and juicy but slightly wilted.

Cooks Notes: I usually make a bit batch of these and freeze. During the winter I add them to stews, pasta and soups.

Watch the video: Μελιτζάνες στο φούρνο με σάλτσα ντομάτας - Paxxi E127 (December 2021).