Roasted Tomatoes

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I have always hated tomatoes.  I hate the smell of them and I hate the slimy guts they leave behind.  But since I am always looking to expand my horizons, I've decided to put on my big girl pants and give them another try.  They're a super food after all.

OK I'll admit - I still can't stand your standard raw tomatoes (especially those big goopy ones they put on sandwiches or chop up for salads), but I can and do eat mini tomatoes if they're put in front of me (especially if they are orange or green) and I LOVE roasted tomatoes.  I roast a batch of grape or cherry tomatoes almost once a week and then use them to make other dishes.  Here's how to do it:

Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
2 large cloves garlic (or 4 small), chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt & pepper

Note:  I use sherry vinegar to roast my tomatoes because it's subtle and goes with everything.  If you prefer balsamic vinegar, use that.  Or you could omit the vinegar and just roast with a little oil, salt and pepper.  It's all good.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with cooking spray (it can't hurt).

Put your cut tomatoes in a medium sized bowl and add the oil, vinegar and garlic.  Stir together then add salt and pepper (eyeball it).  Let that marinate for a few minutes.

Once the oven is heated, spread the tomato mixture in a single layer on the sheet pan (use a slotted spoon so you leave any excess marinade in the bowl. We don't want to start a fire.).  Put the pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast at 375 for 40 minutes.  The tomatoes will shrivel up and get slightly caramelized.  If you like them even more charred/crispy, after 40 minutes turn the oven up to 400 degrees and roast for 10 minutes longer.

Let the tomatoes cool then scoop into a storage container and save for later.

Ideas for how to use your roasted tomatoes:

1. Roasted tomato and goat cheese bruschetta:  slice and grill some bread (baguette or Italian bread) and serve with a log of goat cheese and a bowl of roasted tomatoes.  Spread the goat cheese on the warm bread then top with tomatoes. YUM.

2.  Roasted tomato pizza:  this is pretty self explanatory.  Put your pizza together with the dough and cheese(s) of your choice (I used blue cheese, Gruyere and Parmesan recently and it was delish).  Top with the roasted tomatoes, some herbs (thyme, basil and/or rosemary), salt and pepper and a little olive oil and bake as usual.  You could also add some chicken or sausage to make it more substantial.

4.  BLART (bacon, lettuce, avocado and roasted tomato) sandwich:  since I don't eat raw tomatoes not even bacon can lure me to try a BLT.  Swapping out the sliced tomatoes for roasted tomatoes and adding some avocado not only takes this traditional sandwich up a notch, but it makes it something I can eat.

5.  Roasted tomatoes over Parmesan grits:  Heat your tomatoes in a small saute pan with additional olive oil, some thyme or basil and red pepper flakes.  Cook up some quick grits and stir in about 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve the grits in a big bowl and top with the tomatoes and olive oil.  Add toasted pine nuts and a little more grated Parmesan.

Lycopene for everyone!