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August 07, 2013

Sweet Candied Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Tomatoes with Brown Sugar and Sea Salt
Usually by this time of the year, my tomato plants are laden with fruit so large that the stems threaten to snap and I'm left scrounging as many bamboo canes, pieces of fencing and old metal rods that I can to shore things up. However, this summer has been anything but a usual summer. Our temperatures have been very temperate, something I'm very appreciative of since I live in a very old house without central air conditioning and our normal summer weather can be unbearably hot.

By nature, I have an obsessive streak that seems to color several areas of my life. I have well over 250 cookbooks lining my shelves, I tend to bake cookies in the multiple dozens and when it comes to tomatoes, I am obsessively in love with heirloom varieties. Due to space issues and a very tenacious species of gophers, I limit my tomato planting to 18 plants--although one year I pushed the envelop by putting in 24. With such a passion for tomatoes, you can probably imagine that any summer meal contains at least one, if not two, tomato dishes.

Unfortunately, this just isn't the case this summer.

I do, however, seem to have a prolific harvest of cherry tomatoes and since I had the foresight to plant a few varieties, at least I can enjoy a decent night's sleep with a belly full of some kind of tomato deliciousness. Since cherry tomatoes are too small to properly employ in a number of traditional recipes, I decided to oven roast a batch with brown sugar and sea salt, an idea that made them ever so versatile. I like them slightly squished and spread over buttered toast, but they're wonderful served with grilled fish or roasted chicken and unbelievable topped with a bit of crumbled goat cheese and a pinch of fresh thyme.

I may only get a fraction of my normal tomato harvest and I may have to wait until late September, but with this recipe for these candied jewels, I can pass the time a little more easily.

Sweet Candied Cherry Tomatoes

4 cups of ripe cherry tomatoes, stemmed, washed and dried
olive oil
sea salt
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar (or pure maple syrup)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute the tomatoes.
3. Lightly coat the tomatoes in a few drizzles of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Roast until tomatoes are caramelized and collapse, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the sugar completely melts, turning tomatoes once or twice to prevent burning.
5. Allow to cool, then spoon into a glass jar and top with olive oil.
6. Store in the refrigerator.

2 comments :

  1. I love, love, love me some cherry tomatoes. My husband is the gardener in this house, and he always plants too many tomatoes. Well, too many in the sense that they don't all ripen before the first frost and we have to bring them all in the house to finish ripening, taking up every available surface. One thing I like to do with them is make vast amounts of tomato soup to freeze for the winter. Yum.

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  2. Eek! Frost terrifies me. I have a great, very decadent recipe for tomato soup that you should try.

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