I was right! A few weeks ago I wrote about the savage attack on my fledgling tomato plants and I blamed the groundhog that lives under our bedroom deck. So yesterday, Mark came running out of our bathroom and hissed, “Come here!” And out the window I saw this:
I know it’s not the best photo in the world because I had to take it from the bathroom window. But there’s the little bastard trying to get every last leaf off the plants.
So I am relying on tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market to make roasted tomatoes. There is nothing better than the concentrated flavor of a roasted tomato and they are beyond easy to do. My first order of summer with the roasted tomatoes is to combine them simply with pasta and freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, adding the olive oil the tomatoes roast in as the sauce along with a little balsamic vinegar. But they are also delicious stirred into soups and stews and as part of a grilled or roasted vegetable platter. Yes, you can freeze them because most of the moisture is drawn out in the roasting process. But I am too greedy in the moment and I never have enough to freeze.
And if you’re wondering about the pinch of sugar, I believe this is a Southern thing but it always works. We add a pinch of sugar to many vegetables, particularly to tomatoes and squash. It seems to bring out the richness. Or we think it does.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Slice the tomatoes in thick slices and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet with a rim. Drizzle liberally with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with a small amount of sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake at 300 degrees for several hours or until tomatoes have shriveled and started to turn brown around the edges. Don’t throw away the olive oil! It’s now infused with tomato flavor and is wonderful as a pasta sauce with a little balsamic vinegar.