Wanderlust. Though the word has in recent years been claimed by tumblr users and Free People wearing millenials, its meaning is simple: a strong desire for travel. This New York winter, with its oppressively grey skies, frigid winds and no reprieve of softly falling snow has aroused strong feelings of wanderlust within me.
Having recently finished John Keahey’s book, Seeking Sicily, I long to trade this desolate, chilly cityscape for warmer climes. I daydream about the sun-drenched shores of the Ionian Sea, and the names of these parts yet unknown float through my mind. Sicily. Malta. Sardinia. Rome. Ahh, to be on vacation…
But, alas, as prior commitments and significant lack of monetary resources would have it, I’m unable to jet off to Europe at the moment, so for the present moment I suppose I’ll settle for taking my palate on a journey, one that costs a few dollars at Trader Joe’s as opposed to a few hundred on Travelocity.
This recipe was inspired by a passage in Mr. Keahey’s work in which he describes how they slow roast tomatoes in a clay oven over a period of several hours using the residual heat that remains after cooking the main dish. The author states that tomatoes made in this way have a strong sweetness, almost like candy. My version draws on this using a conventional oven and simple seasonings, allowing the intensified tomato flavor to be the star. Buon Appetito!
Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Italian Style
- two medium tomatoes
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- about 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Wash the tomatoes and remove the green stems. Slice each tomato into medium slices, about 1/4-1/3 of an inch wide. Use a spoon to remove and discard the seeds into a bowl. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Lay the paper down and place the tomato slices on top, leaving a little bit of room between each one. They will shrink as they cook, so it’s okay if they are a little close together.
Drizzle the slices with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried basil. Once the oven has reached temperature, put the slices on the bottom rack and roast until barely charred and fragrant, about one and a half to two hours. Once done the finished product can be added to any one of your favorite dishes. Try them on salads, in sandwiches, with pasta, on pizza, or enjoy on their own as a light snack. Store the slices in the fridge to preserve freshness.
Sous Sus Chef