Growing up, we ate tomatoes straight from the garden with dinner just about every summer night. Each meaty slice was individually salted and peppered on both sides (a crucial step that cannot be skipped), and then promptly devoured.
And to this day, my favorite sandwich is still a Tomato Sandwich: smooshy white bread piled high with thick tomato slices, a dab of Miracle Whip, salt, and fresh ground black pepper. That’s it. There’s no need to screw it up with meat. Or cheese. Or real mayo.
Going back to supermarket tomatoes after our summer bounty was exhausted was always disappointing – never were our home-grown tomatoes so… hard. And not red. It’s easy to get spoiled, I guess.
I had high hopes: a week of tomato sandwiches for lunch, maybe a greek or caprese salad with dinner… What we ended up with: a bowl full of wrinkly tomatoes and dinner out every. single. night.
10 days is a lot to ask from a tomato. 10 tomatoes. And then life interrupted all plans. Once I realized that my purchase was probably in vain, I really didn’t expect them to last long enough for me to have a few free minutes to actually try to save them.
Luckily, going-downhill-fast tomatoes are fairly easy – and very tasty – to rescue and anyone can do it. Anyone with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a working oven. Juicy, lightly caramelized wedges with a nice, bright concentrated flavor – has five minutes of work ever been so rewarding? Throw them in pasta, salads, or take the no-fuss approach: eat them straight from the baking pan the second they’re cool enough to touch. No utensils required.
Oven Almost-Dried Tomatoes
10 wrinkly, 10-days old roma tomatoes, halved or quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 200.
Toss the tomatoes, a liberal pinch of sea salt, and several grinds of black pepper with enough olive oil to coat the tomatoes. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and pop into the oven. Set the timer and walk away.
Bake for 2.5-3 hours and let cool. If you actually have any left, store them in a tightly-covered bowl in the fridge for a few days.