Serves: Makes 8 servings
- 4 large slicing tomatoes, about ½ pound each
- Kosher or sea salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 to 3 ounces Greek, French, Bulgarian, or Israeli feta cheese
Procedures:Baking tomatoes slowly in a low oven caramelizes their sugars and concentrates their sweetness. They remain moist—not chewy, like sun-dried tomatoes—but with their flavor intensified. Strew them with grated feta while they are warm and serve them with lamb chops, roast chicken, or a bulgur pilaf. Andrew Brait, who oversees tomato production at California’s Full Belly Farm, loves Brandywine and Cherokee Purple heirloom varieties and the hybrid Early Girl. You can also use Roma-type tomatoes, such as San Marzano. Leftover roasted tomatoes are sublime on a sandwich. The warm, feta-topped roasted tomatoes are good chopped and tossed with pasta, too.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Core the tomatoes, then cut them in half horizontally. Put the 8 halves, cut side up, in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Sprinkle generously with salt. Combine the olive oil, oregano (crumbling the herb between your fingers as you add it), and garlic, then spoon the mixture over the tomatoes, dividing it evenly.
Bake the tomatoes, basting every half hour or so, until they are very soft and just beginning to caramelize, about 3 hours.
Using an offset spatula, transfer the tomatoes to a serving platter, spooning any pan juices over them. Grate the feta over them. Serve warm, not hot.