This weekend I braved the heat of the oven that added its special ambience to our south facing overheated house, because I had some tomatoes to cook. Some people sit by the fireplace, I sit by my oven, to each their own I say.
Heat notwithstanding, summer is a great time to make the recipe below, and it happened to coincide with a huge bag of gorgeous, fragrant ripe tomatoes that had to get eaten, as well as Serious Eats’ Weekend Cook and Tell theme of tomatoes.
I’ve wanted to make this recipe ever since I read this article by Molly W. of Orangette fame, because it sounded delicious, and the reviews were adoring. We eat a great deal of tomatoes year round, typically in a pasta sauce with a hundred variations, and this recipe read like the elegant version of plain simmered tomatoes. Requiring literally five minutes of prep, it took no time to get rolling.
Wash, slice in half, and seed some tomatoes:
Pour a generous quantity of olive oil into a baking dish, line in tomatoes, pour more olive oil, sprinkle oregano and salt. I totally skipped sugar as the tomatoes were at their peak of freshness and were quite sweet themselves.
Bake, flip and bake some more.
About four hours later (I forgot about them), layer in a bowl with minced garlic and parsley. Drool for two hours.
At this point the fragrance was incomparable. It reminded me of grilled tomatoes at my favorite Persian eatery that I adore. Inspired by said Persian memories I made some rice to serve them on, since that’s how I eat them at the restaurant. Baguette and goat cheese would be awesome too, but I was hungry at that point, and needed more substance than toast. I served them over rice, cutting up the tomatoes and mixing in the juices. It was the greatest lunch of all time, and the tomatoes are everything they say and then some. Perfectly chewy, sweet and smoky, pungent with garlic and parsley they were a feast for all senses.
For the record, my SO is not enamored of the softness of baked tomatoes, and said these would make an incredible tomato sauce if they were quickly pureed. Weirdo. But he loved the flavor and ate every bite anyhow, so that tells you something.
Go forth and make Pomodori al Forno while the tomatoes are at their peak!