The moment I bit through today’s recipe, layered among thin slices of Sopressatta, Mortadella and milky mozzarella, I was no longer sitting at my dining room table. I was 8, curly black hair towering above my head, sitting at my Aunt Roe’s table biting thru the exact same sandwich surrounded by my cousins. We were laughing, teasing and shoving one another as we ate, taking a quick break from the day’s ruckus. Covered in semolina crumbs and olive oil, we cleared our plates, took a last sip of water, and ran back out the patio door into the yard.
One can never underestimate the memory-inducing power of food. It’s rewarding, or upsetting depending on the memory, to an incredible degree of detail and happens unexpectedly. For example, I called my pop’s for today’s recipe strictly because I was in the mood for roasting something low and slow. What I didn’t plan on was the trip down memory lane, North Chicot Ave – Long Island to be exact, but the string of unforgettable images, smells, and sounds made up for every lingering hour these tomatoes spent in the oven.
My pops used to make these all the time, tray after tray, and we enjoyed them most added to a mid-day sandwich piled high with cured meats, grilled veggies, and moist mozzarella. Now, I’m not sure if you’re going to be transported back to the exact same memories as me, but incase you do: if someone gets hurt, don’t tell the adults and for christ sake finish your sandwich!
Pop’s Oven-Roasted Tomatoes (Pomodori Secchi al Forno)
6-8 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Preheat your oven to 225 F.
Slice the roma tomatoes in half length wise and arrange cut-side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each half with generous pinch of sea salt and allow to rest for 15 minutes. This will draw out some initial moisture and help the tomatoes caramelize better.
After 15 minutes, drizzle each tomato with a olive oil and top each with a sprinkle of dry oregano. Place in the oven and allow to cook uninterrupted for 4-8 hours depending on your oven.
You’ll know they’re done when the skin appears leathery and they’ve reduced in size by 75%, like Costanza’s infamous shrinkage. Eat as is or allow to cool, stack in a air-tight jar with whole garlic and extra oregano and cover completely with your best quality olive oil until completely covered. Cap and enjoy whenever you feel the urge. No idea how long they’ll last because I always eat them in a week or less, but I’d wager 2 weeks max.
SPARK NOTES: 1.CUT TOMATOES 2.ROAST FOR 6 HOURS 3.EAT OR WAIT TO EAT LATER
p.s. If you see this group of crazies, you’re in for a world of pain!