- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Every September I find myself on the lookout for great things to do with late-season tomatoes. One of my favorite outlets for this wonderful problem is to almost scorch the tomatoes in a blisteringly hot oven. Sounds violent, I know, but it yields a great result.

The high-temperature treatment is its own kind of seasoning and is so effective on tomatoes that they need nothing else — not even salt and pepper, unless someone insists on these at the table.

Oven-scorched ‘stewed’ tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 pounds ripe-but-firm tomatoes (see note)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking tray with foil and coat it with the olive oil

Cut the tomatoes in half; squeeze out and discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the prepared tray. Place the tray in the center of the oven for 30 minutes.

While they are roasting, visit the tomatoes once or twice with a baster, tilting the tray and siphoning off the juices that the tomatoes emit as they cook. You can save this liquid for soup stock or for cooking rice.

After 30 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and heat the broiler. Place the oven rack at the closest position to the heat, and put the tray back in so the tomatoes can broil. Leave them there for about 5 minutes, or until the tops are compellingly singed. (Judgment call on your part.)

Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the tomatoes to a serving bowl, scraping in whatever you can (and deem edible) of the parts that may have stuck to the foil.

Cover the bowl with a plate, and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Note: There is no need to peel the tomatoes for this recipe. The skins become part of the texture of the dish.

Note: The tomatoes keep for up to two weeks if tightly covered and refrigerated.

Mollie Katzen is the author of “Moosewood Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press). To contact her, go to www.molliekatzen.com.


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