I love the end of summer for the abundance of sweet colourful tomatoes. They just seem to have a fuller, sun-kissed flavour from soaking up all the sun over the summer. And those golden orange and yellow ones are so perfectly sweetened, you can eat a whole bowl in a matter of minutes. This Saturday, be sure to visit the Trout Lake market for their Tomato Festival and stock up on all those deliciously sweet tomatoes.
And all that delicious flavour isn’t for just for savouring and eating; it means big health benefits too. Tomatoes are a nutritional superstar, full of vitamin C, beta-carotene, fibre and potassium. Tomatoes, particularly the red ones, contain an antioxidant called lycopene that gives tomatoes its gorgeous colour and a host of health benefits. Lycopene promotes heart and prostate health, reduces the risk of some cancers and helps give skin a healthy glow. Boost the lycopene in your diet by choosing vine-ripened tomatoes and enjoy them with a little fat like olive oil or butter, as the fat will help your body to absorb more lycopene.
I usually spend the last couple of weeks of August and early September canning tomatoes and herbed tomato sauce and slow roasting any of the small tomatoes from my garden. Because they are so irresistibly delicious, we’re sharing my recipe for slow roasted tomatoes.
Tomato Confit – in plain English – unbelievable yummy slow roasted caramelized tomatoes
You might recognize the word confit, as it’s often used with duck to describe a dish where duck is cooked slowly in its own fat. But in this case, it’s used to describe tomatoes slow roasted in olive oil to sweeten and intensify their flavour. Tomato confit is a simple yet tasty way to preserve tomatoes. And it makes your house smell so good.
I’ve left the measurements open, as you can make this with as few or as many tomatoes as you like.
small tomatoes, halved for small ones or quartered for larger ones (cherry, grapes, campari, heritage, etc.)
fresh thyme sprigs
garlic cloves, separated but left in their skin
Preheat oven to 200-225°F.
If desired, line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil baking sheet or parchment paper with some olive oil. Spread tomato halves, cut side up, on baking sheet. Add garlic cloves throughout. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil. Slow roast for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until tomatoes begin to soften but still hold their shape. Set aside to cool. You can use the tomatoes right away or transfer them to a container adding all the oil from the baking sheet to keep the tomatoes soft and store in the refrigerator. You can use the tomatoes with a little of the oil or drain the oil and use it in salad dressings.
My three favourite ways to enjoy these flavourful tomatoes:
– in a frittata or scrambled eggs
– on crostinis with goat cheese (such a simple but impressive appy)
– as a sauce for your favourite pasta
I was planning on making a pasta dish with these tomatoes but with this crazy hot summer weather, I decided on a cooler salad. Plus it was a delicious way to used up all my garden-fresh zucchini.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
1 medium zucchini
1/2 – 1 cup tomato confit
1 clove of roasted garlic (from tomato confit), chopped
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)
Slice zucchini into thin ribbons using a mandolin, grater or a sharp knife. Wiggle and twirl the zucchini ribbons between 2 salad plates or bowls. This step makes the salad look so inviting and fun. Add tomato confit. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Stir in roasted garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salads and sprinkle with basil if using. Serves 2