roasted tomatoes

The next person who drops by my house for dinner, unexpectedly or not, is probably going to be served a tray full of these tomatoes and not much else. Ok well there might be some pita or bread on the side to mop up the smoky, spicy, sweet pan juices. And maybe some hummous for bites between tomato halves. And wine–a vinho verde especially if we’re enjoying this in the backyard on a hot evening. But that’s it. This would be dinner, this would be the centre of the meal. And I happen to think it’s appealing enough to be the centerpiece of the table too.

If you sit down to a bowl of pasta and red sauce, you’re essentially eating a bowl of tomatoes–this isn’t far off. Here, the tomatoes halves are intact more or less, but they will collapse under your fork, bursting after having been roasted for the better part of an hour. They will be slightly tangy, true to their nature, but they will be complex with sweetness and spice. Some bites will be speared, some smeared and every last drop sopped up. And yes, I absolutely recommend you turn on the oven on summer evenings for this, if you can bear it. After a long day, this requires only 10 minutes of your attention. You can have one full glass of that vinho verde while the tomatoes roast. Just enough time, and wine, to unwind and prepare to enjoy.

spicy roasted tomatoes

(See how this recipe fits into a Lebanese lunch menu!)

Spicy Roasted Tomatoes

6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tbs mango chutney or honey
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 385F degrees. Line a small, 4-sided baking tray or pan with parchment paper. Toss the tomatoes in 1tbs of oil and lay cut-side up in the tray. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Remove tray of tomatoes and carefully brush the dressing on top of each, generously. Return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes more until the tomatoes have caramelized on top. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature with crusty bread or pita and hummous.

Makes 4-6 servings.

This story and recipe appear in WE SAY TOMATO, Issue 002 of Le Sauce Magazine.