Morsel-sized flavour bombs.
If you haven’t ever got around to baking plum tomatoes, you should.
Not only are they super easy, they’re also incredibly versatile and go with nearly everything from pizza to pasta to salad, to toppings on bread, to main ingredient in a soup, to what not.
Not that I get a chance to make many of those other things, because baked cherry tomatoes disappear from the tray before even they have a chance to cool down.
Quite simply delicious even just as they are. Everyone loves snacking on them.
If you are able to hang on to some, they can keep in the fridge for a few days.
I like to make a large batch when in season – cherry tomatoes are also incredibly easy to grow at home – and this provides a delightful way to use up a glut of produce that will invariably result.
TIP: I use a good quality EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) – my rare, non-local indulgence, very sparingly (also because the organic kind can get really premium!) and make a little go a long way by depositing a drop (or two) onto each cut half of cherry tomato using a spoon (or pipette when working with larger quantities!).
Not necessary, really, they can just all be tossed together. But I’m OCD-ish about things like that. ;D
The advantages of doing it this way are many.
One is that the oil lands up where it benefits the most – in the pulp.
It provides the most flavour, by cooking the juices in the oil.
And also, the most nutrients, because the lycopene present in the tomato is fat-soluble.
It minimises the amount of leathery, fried tomato skins (since they will be softer when just baked in their own juices, not oil).
As a bonus there won’t be much precious oil wasted by being smeared on the tray.
Cleanup will be easier. (A good soak in plain water should suffice before the pan/tray can be easily scrubbed clean.) 😀
Baked Cherry Tomatoes
A delicious, quick and easy way to use (and store) cherry tomatoes which are great as is, or as toppings or ingredients in many other dishes and salads or soups.
- 200 grams cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (or any oil of neutral or preferred flavour) increase quantity, if desired
- Salt to taste flakes or freshly milled, if possible
- Pepper to taste fresh, cracked
- Dried herbs/minced garlic/balsamic vinegar optional
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Centigrade
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them on a sheet pan, cut side up.
Drizzle oil over the tops.
Sprinkle salt and cracked pepper (and any herbs, balsamic etc, if using)
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or till shrivelled, but juicy. Longer, for a more dehydrated version. Shorter time for a juicier one.
TIP -The golden mean to look for would be where the the juices evaporate just enough to intensify the flavour of the tomatoes, the sugars start to caramelise (without burning), and there is still enough moisture that it doesn't seem too leathery.
- Keep a watch after the first ten minutes to ensure that they don't get charred.
- They can optionally be baked at a higher temperature like 180 or even 200 degrees C for a shorter time. The edges will crisp up faster and the centres will remain juicier.
- Or, bake at a lower temperature for a still longer time, in which case they will be more dehydrated, but no less tasty.
- This will also work with larger tomatoes, chopped into quarters or eighths. Adjust baking time.