There is profound splendour in fresh, ripe, fragrant, shiny tomatoes – in their natural state, and in the various stages involved in transforming them into moist morsels of tangy umami. Or slow-roasted cherry tomatoes as I like to call them.
This go-to ingredient has almost infinite applications in your breakfast, lunch or dinner. A juicy flavour burst to eat with avocado or on a salad. Sprinkled over a multitude of hot, steamy dishes, from polenta to risotto. Stirred through fluffy whole grains to liven things up. Or to grace an elegant summer canapé (more on that later!). The list goes on…
Hopefully you are getting your hands on some lovely summer tomatoes at the moment, but if you aren’t, know that this recipe is great for making your somewhat-less-flavourful fruit taste much more delicious.
The honeyed touch of apple balsamic vinegar and sprinkles of flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and spicy, dried oregano lift the tomatoes far, far away from that which can be bought in the shops.
As mentioned, I used apple balsamic vinegar for this batch of tomatoes, but any tasty balsamic, or other fruity, full-flavoured vinegar will also be perfectly lovely. I am told that sherry vinegar holds up well when faced with heat, so if you have some on hand, by all means use that.
Similarly, you could add other seasonings to these as the whim took you. I usually go for a little oregano and, occasionally, a smear of crushed garlic. But these additions are up to you – there is a lot of flexibility. I can’t call to mind any seasoning that would be a terrible match for tomatoes. Use the dish that you intend to grace them with to guide you when deciding.
The only word of advice I have for you when preparing these is to set a timer for the oven. They’re in there for a long time – more than enough time for you to forget about them completely. Not that I’ve done that before or anything.
Coincidentally, a reader put me onto this video by blogger Chef John, where he makes something similar (thanks Sherry Ann!). It looks interesting, so if video’s more your thing, check it out here.
And lastly, coming up this week on Ramsons & Bramble! As part of my new series, Brunch Menu of the Week, a splendid summer canapé that shows these delicious, umami morsels at their very best.
- as many cherry tomatoes as you fancy
- balsamic or another sweet, fruity vinegar (I used apple balsamic)
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- dried oregano (or whatever seasoning you fancy)
- Slice the tomatoes in half and lay on a baking sheet. Pour some vinegar into a teaspoon and use that to dab a touch onto each tomato half, refilling as necessary. Some of it will run off, but try to get as much of it as you can to stay on the tomato!
- Top each half with a little salt, pepper and oregano.
- Bake in a 150c oven for about an hour. As all ovens are different, keep an eye on them as if they are left in too long, they will burn. If you think they could do with a little more cooking, bake in further 10 minute increments.