Slow roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme
As kids, my brother and I would satisfy mid-meal hunger pangs by pulling out a juicy red, plump tomato from the fridge and eating it just like that. Like people eat apples. When I tell MK this, he looks at me the way he looks at Avanee when she’s lying around on the floor–with a certain combination of pride and “what-the-hell-are-you-doing” that sends a smile tugging at his lips.
We grew up in a simpler time–when children were happy to dig their teeth into a humble vegetable like the tomato and have its juices run down their elbows. When tomatoes needed nothing fancy to be done to them. It was such fun, and it became orgasmic as I grew older. If you haven’t done it before, I really recommend that you do–it will give you much more happiness than you can imagine.
But that’s for the large tomatoes. What do you do if you get these little babies?
I am not particularly fond of the tartness of cherry tomatoes; I seldom use them raw. I sun-dried a couple of batches of them this summer, and I was so happy with them. Remember this bread? And this? This time, though, I wanted to do something that would preserve their gorgeous color. Sun-drying makes them dark–dark and almost moorishly flavorsome, but dark. Then I remembered seeing something on TV about slow roasting, and I thought I’d give it a go.
All I’ll say is, I’m probably always going to have a jarful of these in my pantry now. Like, always. Last night, when MK came home from work, the house was full of the aroma of roasting, and he wandered into the kitchen like a man possessed. He prized out a tomato from the jar I had just filled and popped it in his mouth, a drop of extra virgin olive oil on his lip. And then he did that thing that he never does when I’ve made something new. He closed his eyes and sighed. I never get that reaction from him. He’s going to eat it on toast, he says. Why not!
For lunch, as I’m writing this post, I’m eating a plateful of spaghetti tossed in the tomatoes with the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and thyme, and while I know it is not such a great idea to post on two consecutive days, I have decided I must share this with you so you can make it without any delay whatsoever. Make it tonight and watch the tomatoes shrivel up in the oil and yet retain their color, and taste the garlic as it turns sweet and caramelized. Feel the smoothness of the thyme-scented olive oil down your throat and think about how simple things can make you so happy.
Slow roasted cherry tomatoes with garlic and thyme
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (or other kind of small tomato/lareg tomatoes quartered)
- 10-15 slim cloves of garlic, bruised
- a sprig of thyme
- 10-15 black pepper corns, bruised
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil or more, if required
- Pre-heat the oven to 100 degrees centigrade.
- In a large baking dish, spread the tomatoes, cut side up.
- Sprinkle with sea salt, thyme, and black peppercorns, and pour the oil evenly.
- Roast in the oven for four to six hours, checking frequently in the last hour or so.
- The tomatoes should be shrunk and shriveled up, and the garlic should be a light gold in color.
- Decant into a sterilized, air-tight jar with all the other ingredients, including the oil. Top with a little more oil if required. It is the oil that will help preserve the tomatoes.
- Store in a cool and dry place.
Toss in pasta or spoon over toast. When the tomatoes are all eaten up, use the oil (with its burst of flavors) for a sauce base or toss par boiled vegetables in it.