Mealy tomatoes are maybe the most disgusting things I can think of, food-wise, competing only with mealy apples. You should keep tomatoes out of the fridge until you cut them, which will keep them from going mealy as fast. But, however you keep them, tomatoes are going to get mealy after a week or so. I had a half of a mealy tomato lurking in my fridge and a whole mealy tomato lurking in my bowl o’ veggies that sits on the kitchen table, but I was reluctant to throw them out (so wasteful!). The other night, I had close to no energy, either for cooking or going out, I wanted salad, I didn’t have a lot of stuff to put in it, but I did have these mealy tomatoes, and I wanted to use them.
So, I decided to roast ’em. I hadn’t ever roasted tomatoes before, but I’ve roasted plenty of other things. Roasting fruits and vegetables concentrates their flavor, which seemed like the right solution. And it was, oh it was. The result was more like sun-dried tomatoes than fresh, completely masking the previously inedible texture, and with an added layer of deliciousness from the garlic, shallots, and thyme. This is a really flexible and easy recipe, to the point where I’m not even going to list quantities, just some ingredients. Eyeball it. You can do it. (Hint: you can’t use too much garlic, shallots, or thyme; you can use too much salt.)
tomatoes (either good ones or mealy ones), thinly sliced
some combination of garlic and shallots (preferably both), minced
thyme (or any number of other fresh herbs — for inspiration on growing your own, read our new contributor’s post here), leaves removed from stems
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Cover a baking sheet with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. (The tomatoes and other goodies are going to burn a little, or might, and you don’t want to have to be soaking the pan. Befriend aluminum foil. It will save your life.)
3. Lay out tomato slices in a single layer on baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and dump the garlic, shallots and herbs on top.
4. Roast for 10-15 min, checking after 10. The longer you roast, the more caramelized the tomatoes and shallots will be and the more concentrated their flavor. But the longer you roast, the more burned some parts will be, which is a sacrifice I’m willing to make for maximum caramelization, but some of you might not want.
I put them them in a salad with some red leaf lettuce, sauteed chicken, and goat cheese, with just some olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing. They’d also be good with pasta and parmesan, or with some mozzarella on a piece of bread, or mixed in with scrambled eggs…or…or…