It’s getting hot in Houston and tomatoes are bursting off their vines in colorful ripeness. That vine-ripe heirloom tomato usually needs nothing but a set of hungry teeth to bite and eat it. And tomato salad is never better than when made with a colorful bunch of different tomatoes.
But if you have a particularly large ripe load, it’s time to bring out the big pots, sterilize jars and lids and get canning. Make tomato sauce from fresh or from roasted tomatoes. Or mix tomatoes up with other flavors, like in the recipe below, and make tomato jam!
Large tomatoes: cut tomatoes in half, sprinkle with coarse salt, add a fresh herb like thyme or rosemary sprigs and roast in a medium-hot oven (350F/175C) until softened. Takes about 45-60 minutes. Let cool completely — after that it is easier to remove the skin (if you want) and proceed to make a sauce. If instead you want to serve roasted tomatoes chilled with, say, feta crumbled on top: roast the tomatoes shorter, for about 30 minutes to keep a relative firm shape.
Cherry Tomatoes: wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. Toss with a little olive oil, coarse sea salt and aromatics (sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme, 2-3 whole garlic cloves). Arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and roast 10-15 minutes in a hot oven (400F/200C). Keep in a container in the fridge for about a week (5-7 days)
Oven-Dried Cherry Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200°F/95C. Cut 4-5 cups of cherry tomatoes in half, scoop out the seeds (save and use in a stock) and arrange cut side up in a single layer on a baking sheet prepared with wax paper. Sprinkle tomatoes with a little sea salt. Put the tomatoes in the oven and slowly roast them for 4–6 hours (they are done when they are slightly shriveled and appear dried). Turn the oven off when they appear dried and let them sit in the oven overnight. To keep: stack dried tomatoes in a jar, cover with olive oil, close the lid and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. As an added goodness: the olive oil that kept the oven-dried tomatoes well, now is your instant tomato-infused oil to use!
Rhubarb Cherry Tomato Jam
makes 2 medium jars
- 2 thick, large stalks of fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch ‘half-moons’.
- 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + some for the onions
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into half moons
- To make the jam: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup raw cane sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste), 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or to taste).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine rhubarb, tomatoes, salt, thyme and olive oil in a large bowl and mix gently. Spread on a large baking sheet with a rim and roast in the oven until softened and caramelized (about 30-45 minutes).
In the meantime, heat the rest of the olive oil in a stockpot large enough to add the rhubarb-tomato mixture when it’s ready. Over low-medium, cook the onions until soft and lightly caramelized. When the rhubarb-tomatoes are soft and ready, add them to the onions and stir well. Add vinegar, sugar and cayenne (to taste) and cook for about 10-15 minutes. If you don’t like a coarse texture, transfer to a blender and pulse to desired smoothness.
Cool down and divide over sterilized jars. If you’re not eating this right away, seal the jars in a hot water bath for up to 20 minutes.
I love this jam with slow-roasted leg of lamb. It’s just made for it. Blue cheese, roast pork shoulder, bacon-wrapped shrimp: think all would match well with this tart, savory jam.