Saturday, March 3, 2012

Don't Talk Smack About Me While I'm Standing Next To You

Bunco was last Friday. I appreciatively call it "Drunko," when it's been an especially trying week. There's nothing like commiserating with your girlfriends over a spread of appetizers and a few bottles of wine. I won the kitty of $17, and took home a prize that I like (theme: White Elephant gifts from Christmas). Batting 1,000.

A handful of people know that I'm an apprentice cheese maker at CalyRoad Creamery, not far from my home. We make a fabulous aged goat cheese called Big Bloomy that is divine. I made the following roasted tomatoes to pair with a Big Bloomy for Bunco. I love, love, love this dish. It's super easy to make, but everyone oohs and ahhs over it. Really, it's simple. Which brings me to the title of this entry. I walked into the kitchen to find two very dear friends, Surabhi and Tracy, talking smack about how it could not possibly be easy to make this dish, and that I was essentially fibbing about it. If you can turn tomatoes over, you can do this. I promise.

Pomodori al Forno
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September, 2008

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 45 minutes
Non-Active cooking time: 2 hours to cool


1 cup (or more) olive oil, divided
2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or majoram
3/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh Italian parsley
Aged goat cheese (such as CalyRoad Creamery's Big Bloomy, or Bucheron)
1 baguette, thinly sliced crosswise, toasted


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil into 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup oil. Sprinkle with herbs, sugar and salt. Bake 1 hour. Using a fork or tongs, turn tomatoes over. Bake 1 hour longer. Turn tomatoes over a second time. Bake until deep red and very tender, transferring tomatoes to plate when soft (time will vary, depending on ripeness of tomatoes), about 15-45 minutes longer.

Layer cooked tomatoes in a medium sized bowl, sprinkling garlic and parsley over each layer; reserve oil in baking dish. Drizzle tomatoes with reserved oil, adding more if necessary to cover. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours. Do Ahead: Cover, chill up to five days. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with aged goat cheese and toasted baguette slices. If you have any left over, stir into pasta sauce, or use as a pizza topping.

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