I can’t seem to get enough Early Girl Tomatoes this summer. While they are wonderful fresh, simply cut with some salt and pepper, perhaps spiced with a little Sumac, or tossed in a variety of salads, my favorite thing to do is slow roast them on top of a layer of garlic cloves, olive oil, whole basil stalks and leaves, Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. The dry-farmed versions are particularly delicious and rival heirloom and San Marzano tomatoes as my favorites. The slow roasting caramelizes the natural sugars and lends a richness to these beauties – the kitchen smells amazing – and once you have them on hand, it is snap to create multiple quick, easy, truly mouthwatering dishes.
I’ve read other cooks like to peel the skins and scoop out the seeds before roasting as they intend to use them in sauce. But I prefer to leave the skins and seeds in tact, as I like the depth of flavor and texture they bring.
Try them simply tossed with your favorite pasta, some fresh herbs and parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil… toasted pine nuts would be a lovely addition.
Place on top of a pizza crust of your choice, along with some shredded mozzarella with fresh basil and a dusting of parmesan. I made this with a cauliflower crust from Trader Joe’s, which was surprisingly good, and if you’re gluten-free or watching carbs, it’s a boon.
Saute some prawns with olive oil, crushed garlic, a splash white wine, season with Kosher salt and rep pepper flakes, then add the tomatoes in to the pan to warm and serve. This combination would also be divine tossed with pasta or on top of polenta.
Get some yummy goat/sheep cheese, spread on toast and top with the early girls for a decadent breakfast or snack. Here I’ve used my beloved Meredith Dairy Marinated Goat+Sheep Cheese here which I high recommend, but another marinated or other spreadable goat cheese would do nicely.
You could certainly puree them and add them to any sauce if you don’t mind the skins and seeds, or use them in a soup or stew. I like to store them in layers in these cute glass containers with bamboo lids instead of jars so they are easier to scoop out and keep them mostly in tact.
To be honest, I could just eat them right out of the baking dish – they are that mouthwatering and delicious on their own. I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe so you can save some summer in a jar!
Slow Roast Early Girl Tomato Confit
- One large (approximately 9x13 inch) or two small (approximately 8x8 inch) ceramic baking dish.
- 10-14 Early Girl Tomatoes golf-ball size or a bit larger, halved
- 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin, good quality is important
- 3-4 basil stalk with leaves attached
- 3-5 garlic cloves gently smashed then peeled
- 2 big pinches Kosher Salt to taste
- 3-5 grinds fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Drizzle about half the olive oil in the baking dish and add the basil stalks and smashed/peeled garlic gloves and spread out.
- Add the halved tomatoes, cut side up on top in a snug even layer.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil on tops so each tomato gets some, and tuck any basil leaves or garlic that might be peeking up underneath.
- Sprinkle the salt on top making sure to get each tomato, and do the same with the fresh ground pepper.
- Place in the oven on middle rack for 90 minutes.
- Check at 90 minutes and scoop up some olive oil and drizzle on top of everything again.
- Roast another 30 minutes, serve or let cool and save. (Note: Cooking time may need to be adjusted for different ovens or sizes of tomatoes.)