Friday, August 24, 2012

Oven Baked Tomatoes with a reduced Balsamic drizzle

Summer is rounding the corner to slide itself into fall soon and the abundance of tomatoes is superb!  Yes, you can now find a variety of tomatoes this time of year from heirloom, to cocktail, cherrie, in summer colors such as orange or yellow variety.  Once we have harvested these delicious ruby gems from our farmers market or garden, what do we do with them? Here are a few recipes which I have come to love and turn to whenever my tomatoes take up way too much space in my fridge.  Hope you like the recipes as much as I do. 

  • 6 - Summer heirloom raw tomatoes, halved and deseeded; If you have a large tomatoes you can slice up to a ½ thickness.
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin olive oil + plus more if needed
  • Kosher salt – to taste
  • freshly grated black pepper – to taste
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f
  2. Slice tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. This can be done by ether scooping the seeds out with a spoon or gently squeeze between thumb and index finger, and the juice and seeds will flow out.
  3. If using small cherry tomatoes the seeds can be left inside. Mix all of the spices with the olive oil in a large bowl. Toss the tomatoes to coat them well with the spice oil mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the tomatoes are hollow side up.
  4. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 25-45 minutes depending on size of tomatoes. They should be slightly browned and shriveled but not burnt. Allow to cool completely before using. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
For the spices listed above, you can use either dry or fresh.  Adjust the amount of spices to be used, it’s whatever fresh or dried for herbs you have and would like to use. The point is to experiment and adjust to your tastes. As for the olive oil, you want just enough to coat the tomatoes not swimming in olive olive.

Smoky Tomato Soup with Gruyère Toasts




1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch small dice
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a mortar
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, quartered, stems removed
1/2 cup water
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper  - to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
8- 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices, cut on the bias
2 ounces Parmesan or Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (3/4 cup)

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter and the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme sprig and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and bring the tomato mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf.
  3. Preheat the broiler. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Strain the soup back into the pot, pressing on the solids to extract as much soup as possible. Stir the cream into the soup and season with salt and pepper. Taste as you add the salt and pepper to adjust to your taste.
  4. Meanwhile, place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from the heat until lightly toasted on both sides, about 1- 2 minutes. Top the toasts with the Gruyère and broil for about 30 seconds, until the cheese is bubbly. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the Gruyère toasts.