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Appetizers Vegetarian

Slow Roasted Tomato and Herbed Goat Cheese Appetizers

July 14, 2017

Summer in Pennsylvania meant stepping downstairs to a kitchen table overflowing with tomatoes.  It taught me to both love tomatoes and wonder when they were going to take over the household and squeeze me out of my room.

My father could never plant less than 20 tomato plants. Our cousin Tony would start seedlings and bring them over, then dad would go buy plants, then someone else would bring plants, so every August, tomatoes covered the basement kitchen table. Yes, basement kitchen table, because in our Italian household, one kitchen was never enough.

Even in the last two years of my dad’s life when he couldn’t plant tomatoes or dig anymore, he supervised. He wasn’t strong enough to help, so he stood in the living room’s picture window, looking out across the grassy backyard, watching me digging in his garden. I remember my hands wrapped around the wooden handle of the hoe on a sweltering July afternoon. I felt compelled to weed around all the tomatoes –grabbing the clumps of weeds with my hands and tossing them aside. I was hot, sweaty and exhausted. I  looked up and he was standing there giving me the OK sign with his hand. Nothing pleased him more than seeing his kids work their guts out.

When I was done, I grabbed the garden hose and totally soaked myself from head to toe with it.  However inconvenient the wetness was, it was totally worth it.

Since I now have no garden, I never have too many tomatoes, unless they’re on sale. Then I have no control and always buy too many. But finally, there’s a recipe that takes care of that, is fantastic, and doesn’t involve canning!

After a recent tomato binge I was re-reading a book by Molly Wizenberg, the Creator of the food blog, Orangette.  My friend Linda, introduced me to her blog years ago. Actually, I think she threatened to strangle me if I didn’t read it because she knew I would love Molly’s blog and her recipes.  Linda was right. Linda’s always right.

Molly’s a wonderful writer and an amazing cook with a passion for tomatoes you wouldn’t expect from a girl from Oklahoma.

In her book, “A Homemade Life,” she talked about one summer when there were too many tomatoes and she and her dad slow roasted them. When she wrote, “They were fleshy and deep red, with edges that crinkled like smocking on a child’s dress. When we bit into them, they shot rich vermilion juice across the table,” the description left me drooling like a baby and I couldn’t wait to try them.

Pasta with oven roasted tomatoes.JPG

Pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes, zucchini and spinach

She was right, they are amazing.  She made hers with coriander, but I was out of coriander, so I just made mine with olive oil and sea salt.  They cook down into syrupy tomato heaven.

Bite into one on a toasted baguette with herbed goat cheese and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and you won’t even mind the squirt of tomato juice that gets on your shirt.  I also chopped some up and added them to a pasta I just made with sautéed zucchini and spinach that was delicious. I made it with some circular pasta (in the photo at left)  my sister-in-law Donna sent me. The tomatoes are also a great addition to a salad.

I’ve been on a less meat, more vegetable diet ever since I watched a show on Netflix a while back called, “What the Health.” I’m sure the vegans of the world funded it, but I think I was probably eating too much meat anyway.  If you have a chance, please watch it and give me your feedback.  I’d love to know what you think.  I know it definitely made me stop and think about my eating habits.

Here’s the recipe for the tomatoes, from Molly’s book, “A Homemade Life.” I turned them into a delicious appetizer on little toasts with herbed goat cheese. And below that is the recipe for the veggie pasta I made.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Herbed Goat Cheese Appetizers

Yields20 Servings

 20 Roma tomatoes
 1 tbsp olive oil
 salt
 ground coriander
 herbed goat cheese
 1 baguette sliced about a half inch thick and toasted

1

Preheat the oven to 200.

Wash and dry the tomatoes, trim away the stem, and cut them lengthwise. Place them in a large bowl, and, using your hands, toss them gently with the oil. Arrange them cut side up on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and ground coriander — about a pinch of each for every 4 to 6 tomato halves. (I've made them without the coriander and they are delicious that way too.)

2

Bake until the tomatoes crinkle at the edges and shrink to about half their original size, 4 to 6 hours. They should still be juicy in their centers. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once they’re cooled, you can easily slip off their skins for easier eating or cooking in pasta.

3

Toast 20 thin slices of a baguette. Spread the toasts with herbed goat cheese and top with a slow roasted tomato. Serve immediately. You will have 20 tomato halves leftover so you can use them in pasta sauce, or whatever you want.

Ingredients

 20 Roma tomatoes
 1 tbsp olive oil
 salt
 ground coriander
 herbed goat cheese
 1 baguette sliced about a half inch thick and toasted

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 200.

Wash and dry the tomatoes, trim away the stem, and cut them lengthwise. Place them in a large bowl, and, using your hands, toss them gently with the oil. Arrange them cut side up on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and ground coriander — about a pinch of each for every 4 to 6 tomato halves. (I've made them without the coriander and they are delicious that way too.)

2

Bake until the tomatoes crinkle at the edges and shrink to about half their original size, 4 to 6 hours. They should still be juicy in their centers. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once they’re cooled, you can easily slip off their skins for easier eating or cooking in pasta.

3

Toast 20 thin slices of a baguette. Spread the toasts with herbed goat cheese and top with a slow roasted tomato. Serve immediately. You will have 20 tomato halves leftover so you can use them in pasta sauce, or whatever you want.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Appetizer
  • Reply
    The Joys of Tomato Season – At Fran's Table
    September 8, 2020 at 5:00 am

    […] If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a great crop of summer tomatoes, and have room to store jars of canned tomatoes, I envy you. Since I don’t have that kind of space, I go for slow roasting some, which is delicious too. Here’s a pasta recipe I created a few years ago that’s easy, healthy, scrumptious, and features slow roasted tomatoes. And here’s a link to a Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato and Herbed Goat Cheese Appetizers. […]

  • Reply
    Nicol
    July 15, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Interestingly, we didn’t have the summer of canning and sauce making, but my high school friend did, and I think about it often. The recipe looks delicious and I never think about roasting tomatoes, but I love the way they taste. Let the experimenting commence!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Oh Nicol, you will love them. They are amazingly sweet and delicious!

  • Reply
    Bernie Tunno
    July 14, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I had experiences similar to yours and it too brought back many great memories! Wait a minute we lived in the same house—NO Wonder!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 14, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      Yep, we both were submerged in tomatoes all summer long! Wish I had some of mom’s canned tomatoes now!

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    July 14, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I make a similar pasta dish, but I’ll have to try it with the roasted tomatoes, in the words of Emeril, to “kick it up a notch”. When I was a kid, from about August 1st until mid-October, our house smelled like tomatoes cooking. My mother had a tiny patch of a garden behind our garage and got an incredible amount of tomatoes out of it every summer – regardless of the weather fluctuations. We had tomatoes with everything. It’s an Italian thing. Your story brought back very pleasant memories of my childhood.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 14, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Awww Chas, isn’t it the truth? We don’t realize how sweet our childhoods were until we look back through the prism of 50 years. Glad my story brought up sweet tomato memories for you! xo

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    July 14, 2017 at 5:24 am

    What s great summer gift! Thanks Fran.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      July 14, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks Chuck, I hope you try it, the pasta is really good!

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