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It’s such a shame that tomatoes are available all year round – they just don’t taste as good if you can get them any time. True, they have much improved and some of them when bought in the middle of January will actually have some flavour – but then they will most probably be flown in from the darkest Peru: carbon footprint, cheap labour, guilt and all.
And the flavour isn’t what it should be – in the middle of summer tomatoes burst with flavour. Not in the supermarkets perhaps, but in the south of Europe wherever you go greengrocer’s stalls will have tens of the very fragrant, properly ripe varieties and dirt cheap.
What to do in winter then if you need your tomato fix? The answer is below – roast them. It brings out the flavour hidden deep when it comes to those plasticky looking imported fruits. It’s a slow job – the longer the better. They should still retain their shape but become very soft and quite a bit darker in colour.
confit tomatoesServings: makes a 1lb jarTime: 3 hours
- 7-8 medium-sized tomatoes, on the vine if available
- salt and pepper
- a little Demerara sugar
- 1 cup olive oil
1. Wash and dry the tomatoes. Halve them horizontally, then scoop the seeds out using your fingers or a small spoon. Place on a baking dish in single layer, cut side up. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle a pinch of the sugar on each tomato. Drizzle generously with the olive oil.
2. Roast in the middle of a low oven at 170C/325F/gas 3 for about 3 hours. Turn them carefully upside down after about an hour for 15 minutes, then turn them back up – that will reduce the amount of liquid in the tomato halves. They should retain their shape but become very soft and darker in colour.