We can’t remember which book this came from. But, we can say it was one of Michael Perry’s books. Just don’t know which one. Now, if you’ve read Michael Perry’s books, you know there aren’t really recipes in them. Unless you read them carefully; then, you can find short passages on the food he makes, and very briefly how he makes it. If you haven’t read any of his books, you should start. His writing has a nice pace to it, sometimes funny, sometime poignant, all good. And, if you read carefully enough, you can find the original version of this recipe. While we can recommend any of his books, we think perhaps our favorite is Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time.
This isn’t really a recipe for making a dish that you’ll have as part of a meal. Instead, it’s a way you can take a huge amount of tomatoes and prepare them so you can freeze in a minimal amount of space. Besides saving space in the freezer, this recipe will make your house smell deliciously good. (And, when you make something from these tomatoes, that’ll be good, too. All part of a trifecta of goodness, brought to you by Scratchin’ Central.)
This is all about a technique, so feel free to change the herbs and spices as you see fit, or use our recommended version. We only recommend these herbs because that’s how we made it this time. Next time will be different. The real mainstays (besides the tomatoes) are the garlic, oregano, and olive oil; everything else depends on what we have available and what sounds good.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Quarter tomatoes. If you want to cut the tomatoes up smaller, fine, but we think cutting plum tomatoes into quarters and removing the tough core/stem portion is sufficient. If we were using another type of tomato, we might cut them smaller.
Flavor. Place the tomatoes in a large roasting pan, cut side up, preferably in a single layer. It’s fine if you pack them in tightly. Once you have a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle with any dried spices you’re using, followed by the sprigs of fresh herbs and the garlic chunks. Poke the dried herbs under the tomatoes (so they’ll be immersed in tomato broth) and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake 3 to 4 hours, or until tomatoes are very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, concentrating that lovely tomato flavor.
Pack. Remove all the large sprigs of herbs and garlic cloves, pack in small containers, and freeze. Or if you want, leave the garlic in, but you want to remove any herbs with woody stems.
These tomatoes are perfect anytime you want to add a burst of summer to a dish. Add them to soups or stews, to tomato sauces, or toss them with pasta. We look forward to making these tomatoes because they smell so good while baking, and it allows us to cut way back on the amount of storage that would be needed otherwise. Four stars.