Many of us here in the Pacific Northwest have been inundated with a flood of tomatoes. We planted salad tomatoes this year, since we still have a pantry & freezer full of goodness from recent paste variety harvests.
But what to do when confronted with 1.5# beefsteak behemoths? Even though we shared a lot with friends, the last-chance-before-blight harvest netted 20 more pounds. Armed with a shiny new seal-a-meal, the possibilities were endless….
After a few minutes searching keyword combinations like ‘preserving beefsteak tomatoes’ online, I ended up doing this:
- Pre-heat oven to 350F
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then parchment if you have it.
- Spread a little olive oil on the pan to coat.
- Take the ‘greens’ off the tomatoes and cut them equatorially, not down through the core.
- Make sure the skin side of each half has a good coating of olive oil, then set halves in the pan, cut side up.
- Sprinkle halves with balsamic vinegar.
- Drizzle a lot of olive oil over that (I used maybe 1/3 cup over 5# tomatoes in a 12×17″ pan. But I skimped on oil compared to some recipes).
- Herbs! Fresh thyme, rosemary, basil if you have them (I was lazy and used dried Italian herb mix from Costco).
- Garlic – I used about 1/3 of a clove per half, and scattered more in the pan.
Once you have a pan full of dressed tomato halves, put it in the oven for about 3 hours. The before and after photos give you an idea of how different sized tomatoes will cook up if left unattended. For more consistency it would be better to roast tomatoes of a similar size together, and adjust the timing. I put these in to cook while working in the yard, and like the variety of textures. After they cooled, I lined a big pizza pan with saran wrap, moved the maters onto it with a spatula, then into the freezer for an hour or so to make it easier to seal them. Now I’m on the hunt for just the right mozzarella-stuffed meatloaf recipe, because these would be unspeakably delicious on or in something like that. Pizza omelets, a regular menu item at STF, also come to mind. Or maybe something with feta…. 🙂