Balsamic Oven Roasted Tomatoes
When I started to prepare this recipe for posting, the sun was shining, the windows were open - it was so balmy and warm, plants were still growing. But, what a difference a day makes - or a week of nighttime freezing temperatures . . . Anyway, maybe some of you still have a box or bushel basket in the garage full of the last of the season's tomatoes. Oven roasting is a way to use up what you have and not have to purchase those little jars of sun dried tomatoes. The oil packed version is, well, oily, and usually a little pricey. On our last visit of the season to the Defiance Farmers Market, I bought some Roma tomatoes to roast in the oven. It's so easy to do and other than a couple hours of drying/roasting time, quick and easy. Any tomato will work, but the meaty Italian style tomato won't shrivel up like other varieties. After they are done and cooled, I simply put them in a freezer-safe container to have on hand for cold weather casseroles and quiches.
Ripe tomatoes, washed and dried
Fresh basil, chopped
Coarse sea salt
Additional herbs and spices of your choice
Line large baking sheets with foil. Slice each tomato into 4 thick slices. I cut them lengthwise, but across would work, too. Brush lightly with olive oil, followed by balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with a smidge of coarse sea salt, a dusting of freshly ground black pepper and some snipped fresh basil. We've had more than a couple of freezes, but there may still be a basil leaf or two left in the herb garden. Fresh basil is also available in most produce sections. Add any other herbs or spices to your liking.
Place baking sheets in an oven set at 225 degrees. Roast for 2 to 3 hours, checking after the first hour to see how they are doing. It will give you an idea of how long they will take to roast, as all ovens vary. I use a convection oven, so cooking time may be less than a conventional oven. When the slices have reached your preferred dryness, remove from oven and allow to cool. They may still be moist in the thickest part, but that's okay. When cooled store in an airtight container in your freezer. You don't need to thaw them to use in a recipe, simply break up or cut them up with kitchen shears.
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