Marinating, Roasting and letting things sit

It’s easy to want to rush things, but a tomato is going to rush into roasting about as quickly as you might rush into old age. It’s different if you’re old because you rushed it, and if you’re old because you’re ninety. A slow roast for a tomato is 250 degrees for six hours. This lets a tomato relax itself until it is completely collapsed and caramelized. You don’t have to mess with the tomatoes once they go in the oven, and if you are never home for a six hour stretch, you can get away with four hours at 300 degrees, and if you are never home for four hours, you need a rest.
Foil a sheet pan. Bring a pan of water to the boil make an x on the rounded end of each tomato. Cut the stem bit out of the other end. Make a big bowl of ice water, and set it aside. Get all the tomatoes in the boiling water, and after a few seconds, the skin will easily peel away from the x. Lift the tomatoes out of the boiling water, and immediately into the ice water. Let them sit in there just for a minute or so to cool, and then drain them. Peel the tomatoes, cut them in half and get the seeds out. Lay them out onto the sheet pan, cut sides up. Season with kosher salt and olive oil. Turn them over, more salt, more olive oil, and a thin, thin sliver of garlic on top of each one. Get them in the oven and do whatever else you have to do. When they are done, they are amazing on seared chicken, fish, steak, or even just on top of a piece of good baguette, all by themselves, or with a little sweet gorgonzola, or the obvious fresh mozzarella.

Marinating is quicker, but even with marinating, you have to be willing to wait. Give at least half an hour for a few pounds of raw cut tomatoes from the farmer’s market to sit with a few teaspoons of your favorite vinegar, a peppery olive oil, a few Tablespoons of diced shallot, a minced garlic clove, salt, freshly ground pepper, and some sprigs of fresh thyme. Get your pasta boiling in salted water, and toss everything together, tasting for salt, and adding another drizzle of your best olive oil and a GOOD, hard, Pecorino. A good marinade is worth waiting for, and a good cheese counter is worth looking for.

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