Sometimes, you need a little color on the plate when planning a menu for a dinner party. Such was the case when my sewing group got together recently for our annual dinner party.
Fortunately, one of our friends excels at menu planning and volunteered to organize the meal and divvy up the jobs. I was tasked with making roasted tomatoes for twenty. While I have sautéed tomatoes for marinara sauce, puréed them for gazpacho, and sliced them for salads, I have never cooked them as a side dish. The challenge was on.
I was a little worried about finding flavorful tomatoes in the middle of winter. I went to Whole Foods and asked an employee in the produce department which tomato she thought was the most flavorful. I loved her response: she pulled out her paring knife and said, “Let’s see.” We tried three different tomatoes, and the Romas won out.
After considering various ways to prepare them, I did what came naturally to me: I tossed them in olive oil, sea salt, and garlic pepper and roasted them. Clean and simple.
30 Roma tomatoes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon McCormick’s Garlic Pepper
1½ teaspoons sea salt
7 or 8 stems Italian flat-leafed parsley or basil, stems removed
balsamic vinegar to drizzle
Preheat oven to 425º
Line two roasting pans with parchment paper
Prep tomatoes: cut each tomato in half, lengthwise. Cut out the stem and use your index finger to remove the seeds.
Place tomato halves inside a bowl, add the olive oil, salt, and garlic pepper. Toss well to coat evenly.
Place each tomato half on baking sheet.
Roast tomatoes for 1 to 1¼ hours. After 30 minutes, rotate pans in the oven. Cooking them this long will draw out their natural sweetness and flavor.
Place tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and snipped parsley or basil leaves, for garnish. Serve at room temperature.
For a few other colorful sides, try these:
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
Sautéed Collards (or Swiss Chard) with Cranberries and Toasted Pine Nuts
Roasted Acorn Squash with Applesauce and Cinnamon
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
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