Last week I bought cherry tomatoes with the intention of eating them on Thursday, the day that I start working at 12:00 and I usually have to fit in a quick lunch around 11:00 before I leave home. Cherry tomato and tuna salad was my plan. But then that particular Thurdsay morning I decided to get busy in the kitchen and I just forgot about the cherry tomatoes. I almost forgot to have lunch at all, that day. So a few days later, during the weekend, I opened the fridge and saw that package of cherry tomatoes. Some of them showing off serious wrinkles.
I am a strong advocate of saving food and giving it a chance even after its expiry date – I always look for discounted products soon to expire at supermarkets and happily buy them, and I’m unable to tell if I get more satisfaction from the fact that this makes me save money or from the fact that my choice helps to contribute ending food waste. Both equally, really. Anyway, there’s no way I would have thrown away those tomatoes because of my bad planning of the food I had at home. So wrinkled maybe these tomatoes were not perfect salad material anymore, but I only had to change my plans and decided to roast them.
Oven-roasted cherry tomatoes:
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the tomatoes in half (or in quartes if they are not very small. Those I had here were pretty tiny so I just went with halves) and add them to a bowl. Season them with 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and optionally also 1/4 tsp crushed dried basil. Add pepper to taste and toss to combine. The oil might seem much, but they need to be well greased to roast to perfection. Line an oven tray with baking paper and lay the seasoned cherry tomatoes over itWhen the oven has reached the desired temperature (better if set on broil), place the tray in the top section of the oven and roast the tomatoes at 200°C for 25 minutes. While it doesn’t really matter if the cut faces upward or downward, it is good to keep in mind that the skin of those facing downward might easily burn while roasting. This only makes it easier to remove later, if desired. Roasting time may sensibly vary depending on the size of the tomato pieces. The perfectly roasted tomato is very soft and not burnt.What’s so special about roasted cherry tomatoes? Mostly, it is the fact that while in the oven most of the water from the tomatoes will evaporate, leaving a more intense, concentrated taste. Cherry tomatoes have a specific sweet quality that oven-roasting will only accentuate.
Oven-roasted, my wrinkled cherry tomatoes became once again excellent salad material. While I like to have them raw, firm and juicy in green-based salads, roasted they are perfect in grain-based salads, or even in pasta salads. I have a favourite recipe for a quinoa salad that I like to make with my students (why have I not featured it here yet?) and roasted cherry tomatoes are just the stars of the show there.