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Roasted Tomatoes

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The secret to the sweetest, most delectable roasted tomatoes is high heat contrary to many low temp methods. You’ll find a hundred and one ways to use these, I promise. They bring an deep, rich tomato flavor to soups and stews that you just won’t get with canned tomatoes.

oven roasted tomatoes

oven roasted tomatoes

Make a big batch and store in the fridge for 7-10 days or freeze for up to six months. They add a delicious layer to soups, sauces, stews and spreads. It’s also a great way to use extra garden tomatoes up at the end of summer when they all seem to come ripe at the same time.

Tomatoes are everywhere in Greece. You’ll see apartment verandas  and rooftops all over Athens dotted with small container plants of tomatoes and herbs. It’s rare to find a balcony without fruits or vegetables growing on it even in the most cosmopolitan areas. Many homes in the suburbs, towns and villages have small garden plots and weekend community gardening has become popular recently with urbanites. This is one just north of Athens, Ecoktima.

When I have to use store bought tomatoes, I try to find vine ripe. They’re definitely more expensive but I think they’re worth it. For best roasting, I like ones that are not too hard and not to soft, but just right. Here are some beauties I found this week.

plump and juicy vine ripe tomatoes

Something to mention and my father always make a point of – I don’t season the tomatoes while cooking. This way, they can be used in any dish which you then can season as a whole.  I use them regularly in lentil soup and my favorite Better Than Ketchup spread and – ok, too many to mention here. I’d love to hear how you like to use them!

Try these few easy steps and let me know what you think?

  1. Cut tomatoes in half through the middle and slice an ‘x’ just through the skin  on bottom of each (for easier peeling)
  2. Place cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. Brush generously with olive oil

    tomatoes ready for roasting

  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  5. Allow to cool and gently peel skins away from meat of tomatoes, starting from the x’s cut on bottoms

    roasted tomatoes, peeled and ready to use or store

  6. Store, covered in the refrigerator for 7-10 days or cover in olive oil and they’ll keep for up to a month

Freezing is a good way to have them at hand whenever you need them. I freeze 2 cup batches in zip close plastic bags and simply thaw for 15 minutes in a bowl of cold water before using. You can certainly microwave them, I’m just not a fan of that method myself.

stored frozen – not the greatest pic, but you get the idea!

A nice thing, and something you may not know, about Greek gardening is that men are often the gardeners. My grandfather settled in a suburb just north of Boston and had a lot of land a couple of towns over with a huge garden. He grew all sorts of fruit trees and vegetables. The family called it “the farm’.

The Farm became a gathering place for his six children and their families with a small summer shack and a long table outside. Sadly, I never knew my Papouli as he passed away before I was born so the farm is only known to me in story.

5 Responses to Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Stella August 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    I loved the story of your Papouli, as it sounded like my Dad. When we bought our home in Redondo Beach, CA, the first thing he did was to plant a Lemon Tree and a Fig tree. Some…40 years later both are great producers, esp. Lemons I have year round. I miss him very much, as he knew intuitively how to do and fix everything! Your Fasolakia recipe is how I remember from my Yiayia!!
    Thank you for posting and G-d bless you!!

  2. Barbara September 5, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    Do you ever sprinkle with herbs…dill or mint or oregano before roasting? This sounds great,

    • Kiki September 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

      I don’t usually add herbs during roasting. That way, I can flavor them as I like when ready to use. Just gives me more options! Kiki 🙂

  3. James A. Poulos April 17, 2020 at 8:22 pm #

    My pap was born in kalamata Greece in 1895, on a steep hill in Pittsburgh he terraced his good size yard and grew everything. He died in 1975 in my home, I miss him still. My mother was not greek and so I grew up on southern cooking, pap often cooked his own meals but it was considered “old country” food. I didn’t learn to appreciate greek history, culture and food tI’ll well into my adult years. My pap was not well educated, but he was smart and worked hard all his life and took good care of his 4 children. He also managed to name us Nick, George, Helen and me James Angelos. When I recently found your website and read many of your marvelous commentaries (some of them brought me to tears) it was like finding a home. I am vegan and do my own cooking because I am alone now. I am 80 years old and still work my own small garden. Thank you so so very much, you cook and write so very well.

    • Kiki June 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm #

      Theo, thank you for your sweet comments and for sharing your story! My husband is from Carlisle, PA – not exactly next door to Pittsburgh but it’s amazing how many Greeks settled in Pennsylvania. I can just picture your father’s garden and love that you still carry on that tradition <3 It reminds me of my dad and the grapevine cutting he brought with him from Brooklyn, NY when he married my mom 55 years ago. His Uncle Jim cut it for him from his huge vine and it's still growing strong in the backyard - now covering half the house :) How did you come to be vegan? Were you raised in the Orthodox Church? I always have to confess that I'm only a half-year vegan, following the almost 6 months of fast days of the year! I'd love to correspond, if you'd like to email me directly at thegreekvegan1@gmail.com, and hear more of your unique growing up, Kiki 🙂

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