Slow-baked Cherry Tomatoes with Herbs

Cherry tomatoes  

I discovered this dish by accident, when one of my students left a tray of baked cherry tomatoes in the oven for 2 hours. Fortunately the oven wasn't turned too high and, curious, I risked tasting one of the sad and wizened little mistakes. What a revelation! These tomatoes have the intense flavor of sun-dried tomatoes with the bright taste and texture of fresh.

These tomatoes make a great cocktail party hors d'oeuvre, but you'll need to pass cocktail napkins for people to wipe their fingers. Or you can get fancy and put one of the tomato halves in tiny tartlet shells. This recipe is designed for the relatively large store-bought cherry tomatoes, but if you grow your own or have access to the tiny "garden" cherry tomatoes, increase the number of tomatoes to 45.

Makes hors d'oeuvres for 15

30 cherry tomatoes, stems removed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram, thyme, or oregano,
   or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze the seeds out of each half. Brush a baking dish large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer with a thin coating of the olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes, flat side up, in the dish. If the tomatoes don't stay upright in the dish, make a tiny slice on the bottom of each one so they rest flat.

Crush the chopped garlic with the side of a chef's knife on a cutting board until you obtain a smooth paste. In a small bowl, combine the garlic with the remaining olive oil, the herbs, and Parmesan cheese. Use a small spoon to drizzle the olive oil mixture into each of the tomatoes.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and bake for about 2 hours, or slightly less if your tomatoes are extremely small. The tomatoes should be shriveled and lightly browned around the edges.


Recipe from:
by James Peterson
William Morrow & Company, Inc.
1998, Hardcover, US $35.00
Reprinted by permission.





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