For years I’ve been an irascible presence on social media telling my friends to roast your damn vegies. This post is specifically about roasting your tomatoes. I don’t mean slow-roasting them, confit-ing them in olive oil. I mean blasting them with the hottest temperature your oven can muster.
Nothing tastes better than the charred sweetness of a properly roasted vegetable and tomatoes, so full of sugar, are perfect for this treatment.
There are two options: plain, and fancy.
Pre-heat your oven, with your baking tray inside it, to the maximum temperature it will go, for at least 30 mins.
Plain roasted tomatoes
Fresh truss tomatoes should be cut in half through their equator — don’t let me see you cutting them top to bottom!
Baby truss tomatoes after they have been carefully turned in the pan.
Carefully remove the roasting tray from the pre-heated inferno (first-degree burns are probably inevitable but use a double-folded teatowel, or oven mitts) and place a sheet of baking paper on the bottom.
Then put the tomatoes cut side up in the roasting tray, sprinkle them liberally with flaky salt (the only kind, in my book) and drench them with olive oil (not extra virgin; the ordinary stuff).
Roast them for 45 minutes to an hour thirty. This is another cook until cooked scenario — the time depends on how hot your oven gets. You can turn them over midway through or just leave them the fuck alone.
When cooked they should be completely collapsed, releasing their juices into the pan, and charred around the edges.
Take those roasted tomatoes and mash them into a pan with some well-crisped batons of streaky bacon, some softened diced shallot, some sliced garlic, add some white wine, add two tbsp of sour cream, add some parmesan, add some finely chopped chives, spoon that over pasta and promptly die of happiness.
Fancy roast tomatoes
My gorgeous ex once took me to see Yotam Ottolenghi interviewed by my fave Aussie cooking writer Karen Martini. He is a generous talker and careful thinker but I almost never cook his food — because the fucker just has no idea how many ingredients is enough. But this recipe is an exception.
Don’t worry about the Urfa chilli flakes. Whatever flaked chilli you’ve got is fine. Pul biber is great if you can find it. Sweet or smoked paprika is also fine.
Crushed garlic, thyme, sage, fresh oregano, lemon peel, baby truss tomatoes cut through their equator, a metric fucktonne of good olive oil, then roast those little bastards like they insulted your mother.
Pull them out when the oil is spitting and the herbs are crispy and the pan is scorching your oven mitts. Pour the whole mess over yoghurt that has been sitting in your freezer for a couple of hours.
Look at that. Charred, collapsing, sweet, caramelised, herby deliciousness. It’s the perfect dish to accompany roast chicken or roast lamb.