April 7th, 2009
One of my favorite things to have on hand are roasted cherry tomatoes. Sometimes I roast two pints on Sunday and keep them on hand for a last minute meal. But they are easy enough to roast the night of. In the 45 minutes that it takes for them to crackle and pop, you can easily boil pasta or saute veggies or chicken cutlets. By the time the tomatoes are done, it’s a simple matter of tossing dinner together… literally.
The easiest way to roast tomatoes is with olive oil and salt. That’s it. They come out sweet and gorgeous, cracked and slightly browned. If you want to get fancy, you can throw in a few garlic cloves, some pancetta or prosciutto, herbs, honey for extra sweetness, and/or balsamic vinegar for a little tang. And the oil that the tomatoes roast in gets nicely flavored–perfect to use in your final dish.
No matter how you make these, roasted cherry tomatoes can easily take center stage of any dish. Just keep it simple. Toss with garlic, pasta, and basil or your favorite dark, leafy greens. Add salmon, cod fillets, or chicken breasts to the tomatoes halfway through cooking, finish roasting, and finish with black olives. Top polenta with roasted tomatoes and grated parmesan. Toss with spaghetti squash, herbs, and top with a dollop of ricotta.
Last night, with a seriously bare fridge (except for two pints of cherry tomatoes from a pasta dish that never happened), I hit the cupboard. Some oil-packed tuna, white beans, and red onion came together with roasted tomatoes for a Tuscan style salad, perfect with the loaf of bread I bought on the way home from work.
Roasted Cherry (or Grape) Tomatoes
(can be served to kids 10+ mos)
2 pints organic cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp organic olive oil
1/3 cup organic olive oil, if you plan on using the oil in your final dish
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the meantime, clean and dry tomatoes. Place in an oven safe dish with oil and sprinkle with salt (just a little if serving to beginner eaters, a healthy amount for extra flavor if serving to older kids and adults).
2. Roast for 45 minutes. Serve plain, with crusty bread, or toss in another dish. If storing, pack tomatoes in a container with the cooking oil. Cover with an airtight lid and store in fridge for up to 5 days.
Italian Tuna, White Bean, and Roasted Tomato Salad
(can be adapted for kids 10+ mos)
1 jar (about 7 oz) italian tuna packed in oil, drained (skip the tuna to make a vegetarian version)
1 can organic white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 an organic red onion, thinly sliced (skip the onions or just leave out of the kid portions–I think they are an important element for the adults)
1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, roasted (you don’t need the cooking oil)
2 tbsp organic olive oil
3 tbsp organic red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
1. Flake tuna. Toss with white beans, red onion, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and vinegar.
2. Add salt and pepper to older kid and adult portions. Serve plain or with crusty bread (makes a great bruschetta topping).