My last CSA pickup yielded some of the most delicious tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. As part of the tomato extravaganza, I had about 20 little orange cherry tomatoes (though I ate about 5 on my way home), a half dozen red plum tomatoes, some yellow tomatoes and finally some zebra tomatoes (which were mostly just green). The question was, what should I do with them? In the back of my head I knew that summer was coming to a close so these were some of the last good tomatoes for 2011. I tossed the red and cherry tomatoes into a few salads and decided that a good ol’ roasting was in store for the rest.
In the past I’ve roasted cherry tomatoes, but never larger ones that really needed to have the skin, seeds and cored removed. After looking at a few videos and other websites, I was pretty confident I could roast them with great ease. The primary thing you’ll need to do is get a pot of lightly boiling water and and ice bath ready to go before the roasting begins. The main idea is to cut a small X in the bottom of the tomato (not the core), quickly blanch the tomatoes for about 30 seconds and then pop them into the ice bath. The blanching will loosen the skin from the tomato and the ice bath keeps them from cooking anymore. Once cool to the touch, you should be able to easily pull away the tomatoes tough skin. I opted for a slightly more difficult method, though it worked out well.
You can roast as many as will fit onto a rimmed sheet pan, I had about 7.
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut out the core with a small paring knife and then cut a small X on the other side. You don’t have to go to deep for either. Then cut the tomatoes in half along the equator (not through the core).
Flip the tomatoes so the seeds are showing and carefully with your finger scoop out the seeds and the “jelly” from each tomato half. It should come out very easily and when you are done, you are left with a sort of hallow tomato.
Place foil onto a rimmed sheet pan (rimmed is important, as the tomatoes will have a lot of juice) and spray with a little cooking spray. Place the tomatoes onto the pan, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and a little black pepper.
Roast tomatoes for about 10 minutes. Remove pan and while tomatoes will be hot, you can flip them with tongs and remove the skins. This is not the easiest way,** but it worked for me in this instance. Continue roasting tomatoes another 5 minutes, or until they have mostly collapsed.
Pour tomatoes and the juice into a bowl and let cool.
** Ideally use the method mentioned above. Boil tomatoes for about a minute and then shock in bowl with water and ice. Remove skin and then cut in half and proceed with above steps.
Roasted Tomato and Corn Pasta
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as an appetizer or accompaniment
6-8 medium size tomatoes (I used yellow and green)
2 ears sweet corn, husked
6-8 ounces dry pasta – cooked according to package
1 cup reserved pasta water (saved when making pasta)
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-10 leaves of fresh basil, lightly chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
Using method above for roasting tomatoes, roast tomatoes and corn in a 350 degree oven for between 10-20 minutes. Reserve tomatoes and all the juice. Remove kernels from corn and reserve in same bowl with tomatoes.
Cook pasta according to directions. When draining pasta into a colander, pour about 1 cup of the pasta water into a glass measuring bowl (or other heat proof dish). Once drained, return pasta to still hot pot and add about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, pinch of salt and a bit of pepper. Stir to mix and then cover with top.
In a large sauce pan, large enough to hold pasta, heat butter and 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When warm, add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add the reserved roasted tomato and corn to the pan and increase heat slightly. Stir and bring to a very gentle simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Continue simmering until reduced by half.
Add pasta to pan and mix well. You can add more pasta water if you want a thinner sauce. Finally, top with cheese and basil and mix a second time. Serve immediately topped with pan cooked chicken breast, or as is. Enjoy!!