FFWD – Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Chopping tomatoes in the (extremely strong) afternoon light.

The lines between restaurant cooking and home cooking have been slowly blurring for a long time, now. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that they converge and diverge over time. Right now, we’re in the midst of a gourmet revival, which seems to happen every generation or so. I direct you to almost any cooking blog for further research. At the same time, there’s also been a revival of interest in home-cooking from a professional perspective. In my town, restaurants like Grub, Burgoo, and The Wallflower have made names for themselves presenting and reinventing comfort food. My brother, a chef, cites not only professionals as mentors, but also my mother. Of course, a professional chef can’t surpass your mother’s famous [insert specialty here] and there are few home cooks who can match the expertise and equipment available to chefs.

One of the fundamental things that separates the two is preparation…though perhaps I mean preparations. At home, the success of a dish is often based on seasoning and the care put into assembling and cooking the dish. An apple pie is the result of a gentle hand with pastry, judicious spicing of the filling and a careful eye on the oven. In a professional kitchen, the Mother sauces provide the springboard upon which a menu is built, but the same care is put into other ingredients. Especially at restaurants that make use of seasonal produce, it’s the preparation of ingredients that can transform a dish. It’s a step beyond what we usually do at home.

The tomatoes, seasoned with tarragon, garlic, coarse pepper and sea salt, ready to go into the oven.

This is the train of thought that I followed when reading this week’s French Friday recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes. It seems more like a preparation that would be found in a professional kitchen than a home cook’s staple. It should be a staple, though. Slow-roasting is a wonderful, hands-off process for a quiet day at home. It’s also an effective method for concentrating flavour. This summer, I’ve slow-roasted strawberries, rhubarb and now tomatoes. Tomorrow, I’m going to try cherries. I think they’ll be great as a tart filling. But, I digress.

Dorie’s slow-roasted tomatoes can be flavoured with garlic and herbs, or just a little salt and pepper. They can be used immediately or packed in olive oil to use over the course of a few weeks. They can be ground into a paste, added to a dish during cooking, or used as a garnish. It’s this versatility that reminds me of restaurants.

Save for a taste after they were finished, I haven’t used my tomatoes yet. I’ve packed them in olive oil and they’re waiting in the fridge, ready to bring my home cooking up a notch.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

The tomatoes, roasted and cooling.

I’ve just realized today that I’m nearly at my 100th post and am only a few weeks away from my one-year-blogoversary. So, I’m trying to think up a little something to celebrate. As they say in advertising: Watch This Space.

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35 thoughts on “FFWD – Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

  1. We enjoyed this recipe so much that I just prepared a second (double) batch this morning. We especially loved it after I added oil and chilled it. I used some dried rosemary on mine, but
    Tricia added thyme to hers and both recipes worked well. Yours look wonderful, I love the
    photos.

    1. I think I’ll make double batches of this in future, too. I used tarragon on mine and it turned out well. I love how adaptable this recipe is to what one has on hand.

  2. Beautiful post, Teresa! I know you are going to love whatever you put your tomatoes in because this recipe is so delicious. I want to try roasting some of the fruit you suggest. I hope you have a good weekend!

    1. Thanks, Elaine! So far, these have been fantastic! I’m going to try to make a little post about the cherries today, if I have time. I hope your weekend’s been great!

  3. Your oil will be so flavorful! I packed them in oil and they didn’t last over a day after that first rest. Good thing I have more tomatoes around for a second batch. I love the fact that home cooks get to play with some recipes and techniques that used to be “industry secrets” for professional kitchens.

    1. I haven’t been using them very quickly, so I think my oil is going to keep on getting better. It’s great, especially when there are learning opportunities like this cooking group available.

  4. That is one thing I like about FFwD – although I may not be an ultimate fan of every recipe, I find it is the little details that I am picking up here and there that entrall me the most.
    And slow roasted cherries sound lovely! I’ll take a batch πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I agree – it’s those little techniques and ideas that are helping me grow as a cook.

      The cherries are pretty great, but I dilly-dallied a little too much yesterday, so I didn’t actually roast them slowly. I don’t think that impacted them too negatively, though, because I’m loving them.

  5. Your photos are truly lovely. As Nana commented, this was ind eed a hit for both of us. It made me wonder why I had not done this before and I enjoyed reading of all the items you roasted – I need to do this technique more. Lovely writing- very enjoyable.

    1. Thanks, Tricia! I’ve been having fun with roasting this summer. The things I’ve been slow-roasting don’t all necessarily have to be slow-roasted, but if it’s a hot day, a slow oven’s easier to deal with than a hot one.

  6. I think these slow roasted tomatoes offered you a little more than flavor- along the lines of food for thought. Isn’t that a wonderful thing and you’ve expressed yourself so well. I should mention your beautiful photos And congratulations on your upcoming 100th post;-)

  7. Strawberries? Slow-roasted strawberries?! I know what I am doing tomorrow! (Right alongside a second batch of these terrific tomatoes.) Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie. It’s interesting to think about the differences between home and restaurant cooking and to figure out what’s best about each and try and draw on those things for my own cooking.

  8. They look so good and I agree about home/professional cooking meeting up. There are so many comfort food restaurants opening up here in Toronto. Congrats on you upcoming 100th post so exciting!

    1. Thanks, so much – I can’t believe how quickly this year of blogging has passed. I think we’re in a good period for cooks – there’s so much information about professional techniques now, making a great learning environment.

  9. What a lovely and thoughtful post. I really enjoyed it.

    I was also interested to see that you made yours with tarragon. I love tarragon and had considered trying it, but thought it might not be sturdy enough to hold up in the oven for that long. Happy to know that it worked for you and I will definitely be throwing it into my next batch.

  10. Very thoughtful post…and I agree that the lines are blurring, especially as higher-quality ingredients and equipment become available to home cooks. I also feel that while there are certain things that just can’t be replicated at home, there are also certain things that can’t be replicated at a restaurant.

    We’ve already eaten all our tomatoes, but I can’t wait to make them again! I am getting so many great ideas how to use them by reading all the FFWD posts. πŸ™‚

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