Yield
Makes 16 to 20 pieces
Slow roasting requires rather little effort for the succulent results that are produced. It concentrates the flavor of tomatoes, leaving them intact but meltingly tender. I serve them perched on a little toast. (You can spread with ricotta cheese first.) But I've been advised that they freeze well for winter use, too. They can also be cooked with other vegetables or with meats. A combination of red Principe Borghese and yellow Italian paste tomatoes, such as Italian Gold, is especially striking. Oblong, dense paste tomatoes have scant amounts of juice and thick, meaty flesh.

Ingredients
 
  • 1 1/2 pounds paste tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano, thyme, or marjoram
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Lightly oil a large shallow baking dish. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Set them cut side up in the dish, then brush the tops with the oil, using about a tablespoon in all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the herb and garlic.

2. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours. Check after an hour and drizzle a little more oil over the surfaces if they look dry. If you don't plan to use the tomatoes right away, store them in the refrigerator, or freeze and use in soups and stews come winter.

Adapted from Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 2002).