In life, as a Buddhist, I normally subscribe to the "Middle Path" but when it comes to cooking temperature, I subscribe to the extreme. I love to use low temperature, i.e. slow roasted or sous vide, as these techniques turn tough cut meats into delightful eats. Or, high temperature cooking is used to sear meats to create maillard effect, or to roast vegetables to caramelize them. Some vegetables with high sugar content can also be caramelized through confit, cooking them in some kind of fat in low temperature of a long time. I love to slow roast garlic cloves in what else but duck fat. It is very easy to make and once you have them it in the fridge, you can use it in many different ways. You can mix it in with your mashed potatoes, make a spread for your crostini, or turn it into garlic soup. That will be another blog post. Today I am experimenting with slow roasted tomatoes!
It is important to choose tomatoes of equal size so they will be cooked at the same time. They will also be aesthetically pleasing on an appetizer plate. These tomatoes can be used in tomato sauce, tomato soup, etc. But today I am going to showcase them as an appetizer. I only wish I did this when we still had home grown tomatoes. How delicious would it be? Try to use the best tomatoes you can find. I ended up using organic tomatoes on the vine. They would not be as good as my home-grown ones but it would have to do.
Before roasting, I need to remove the tomato skin first. I make an x cut on the bottom of each tomato, then blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds. The skin will slip off easily. Arrange them tightly in an oven proof pan with a lid (or use foil for lid), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle the top with fruity olive oil and masala wine. Roast in a 200F oven for 12 hours. The tomatoes now become deep red and half of their original size. I sacrificed one tomato to find out what I came up with. The tomato had a bright concentrated tomato-ey flavor but didn't have enough sweetness I was looking for. I believe it could have been sweeter with my home grown tomatoes. But this is something I enjoy as a cook. Problem solving! I boiled down the tomato juice left in the roasting pan with a tablespoon or so of maple syrup, cooking until thick and syrupy. This tasted very good! Then I gently coated the roasted tomatoes with this tomato syrup to add sweetness to the tomatoes. Now I am happy with the result!
The tomatoes are a perfect pairing with some salted cheese. I love to pair blue cheese with something sweet. I brûléed the cheese with my blow torch and drizzled the tomatoes with some balsamic glaze. I think you can serve this with some salad or with a crostini, your choice. I can't wait until next summer to try this recipe again with my home grown tomatoes.