Colorful Food

30 Sep

Many of the dinners we’ve eaten this summer have been rather monotone.  There’s been lots of green punctuated by little stripes and dots of red pepper.  It’s been a season devoid of the wild colors of heirloom tomatoes.  But this weekend, when we stayed in the city, we hit the greenmarkets and bought every colorful tomato we came across, and then I took them home and roasted them.

For years now I’ve seen recipes for oven-roasted cherry tomatoes on blog-after-blog but I never made them. The cool weather just never seemed to coincide with the end of tomato season.  But in this weird weather year, the conditions I’ve been waiting for have finally occurred and I made up for lost time¹.

We roasted some wickedly sweet little round red tomatoes on Saturday, then drizzled them with good balsamic and ate them with roasted duck breasts and yet another version of that gorgeous squash soup (this time with white beans for creaminess and a purple opal basil yogurt crema).  And then on Sunday I roasted a mix of colors and shapes and served them over smashed red bliss potatoes alongside a pan-roasted fillet of Spanish mackerel and another purple opal basil crema made zippy with one third of a Jawala pepper.

And now, after having had two dinners in a row graced by oven-roasted tomatoes, I can say this to you: Do not make my mistake! Roast when it’s roasting out if you must, but do roast some of your most perfect cherry tomatoes and serve them with whatever you’ve got .  Pasta, duck, fish, salad, beef, pork, chicken, polenta, rice, bread, quinoa, kasha, grits, jerky, tofu, ostrich, cardboard.  Anything.  Just make them.  You can thank me later.

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¹ Set the oven to 325°F.  Wash a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes, put them in an roasting dish or dutch oven, coat with a few glugs of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a minced garlic clove or two and place in the oven.  Roast the tomatoes–scoot them about the pan with a toss or a spoon once or twice–for an hour or so until they’ve collapsed in on themselves, taken on a burnished hue and released their juices.  Remove and mix in a handful of torn basil.  Enjoy!

4 Responses to “Colorful Food”

  1. Nath October 1, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    I’ve been enjoying your posts and your amazing photographs, so thank you for that. I totally agree with you on roast tomatoes but as I live in Ireland, the problem is with finding nice tomatoes, definitely not with the heat! One way of serving them I particularly like is this Nigel Slater’s recipe where you crush together some garlic, anchovy fillets, basil, salt and pepper. You add some olive oil to make a dressing and you pour that over some roasted tomatoes just out of the oven.

  2. ann October 1, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    Nath — That sounds *so* good. I love Nigel. Have you gotten his new book yet? It’s not available in the U.S. yet for a decent price. It’s making me very sad as it sounds so good!

  3. Nath October 2, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    No, not yet. But you can find some of the recipes here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/nigelslater. Check out the webfeed – if you don’t already get his weekly Observer recipes, you might be interested. Actually, that’s where I got the recipe for the roast tomato salad.

  4. Jennifer Hess October 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    One of my most favorite things to do with tomatoes. :) Our Brooklyn backyard had a ton of volunteer cherry and grape tomato plants and every year, I’d roast huge batches just to keep up with them! I miss those days.

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