I found myself facing the stark realization that the end is near. We had our first frost here this past week. As much as I hate to admit it, fresh, absolutely toe-curlingly delicious heirloom tomatoes are but a memory for me until next summer. Sigh.
So I did what I had to do. I harvested the last of the good-sized green tomatoes, pulled out the tomato plants, and started to think of ways to use the bumper crop of green tomatoes now covering my counters. The tomatoes that were already showing a blush of pink, I put into a paper bag to ripen. The ones that were still very green and firm will be transformed in a few different ways in the coming days. The first method is oven roasting.
How to Oven Roast Green Tomatoes
This is another one of those non-recipe recipes. Here’s how you do it.
1. Quarter large tomatoes (such as ‘Brandywine’ or ‘Polish Linguisa’). Halve smaller tomatoes, such as ‘Roma’ or ‘Japanese Black Trifele.’ Leave cherry tomatoes whole. You don’t need to worry about removing the seeds.
2. Place the cut-up tomatoes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Rimmed is important — there will be a lot of juice!
3. Drizzle some olive oil over the top of the tomatoes, then add salt and pepper. I like my tomatoes a little on the spicy side, so I also added a few crushed red pepper flakes to mine.
4. Use your hands to swoosh the tomatoes around in the oil to ensure that they’re all coated.
5. Place your tomatoes in a pre-heated 250 degree oven. Let your tomatoes roast for 1.5 to 2 hours, until they are soft. (Note: I’ve seen recommendations for everything from 250 to 400 degrees for roasting. I tend to get a burned mess when I roast at 400, but if you like more charring on the tomatoes, go for it. I like 250 because it results in a nice, slow, gentle roasting and very tender, sweet roasted green tomatoes.)
How to Use Roasted Green Tomatoes
You could do what Gayla Trail recommends, and eat the roasted green tomatoes slathered on a piece of crusty bread. You could use them to top a pizza, or in pasta, or as a really unique topping to a burger (roasted green tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese — yum.)
If you’re not able to use them up right away, put your roasted tomatoes (after they’ve cooled) into a freezer container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to six months. Simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator the night before you want to use them.
This is a good way to make use of something that many of us end up composting. Have you tried roasted green tomatoes?