Last year I wrote about a recipe that Molly Wizenberg had written about in Bon Appetit magazine about a dish called Pomodori al Forno, which she called the best appetizer in Seattle. I tried it and agreed that it was, in fact, the best appetizer in Seattle. And I had never even been to Seattle.
A year later, I still make this dish, and I still believe that it is the best appetizer in Seattle. And I still haven't been to Seattle.
Plump Roma tomatoes are slow-roasted with sugar, salt, oregano, and a year's worth of olive oil in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours. They are then let to rest with freshly chopped garlic, parsley, and another year's worth of olive oil for two hours so that the flavors can marry.
The end result is a fragrant, smooth, soft, and fresh dish that is served with crisp baguette slices that are used as a vessel to get said tomatoes into my mouth.
I made this a few weeks back when Jack and I went to Long Beach Island with two friends of ours. The dish is also supposed to be accompanied by fresh goat cheese, but my friend who was at dinner does not like cheese. And he is Italian. For shame.
I highly recommend making this dish. Although it takes some advanced preparation, it has been my go-to summer appetizer for the past year.
And one day, I'll make it to Seattle.
Pomodori Al Forno - Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cups (or more) olive oil, divided
2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley
1 baguette, thinly sliced crosswise, toasted
Preheat oven to 250°F. Pour 1/2 cup oil into 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange tomatoes in dish, cut side up. Drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup oil. Sprinkle with oregano, sugar, and salt. Bake 1 hour. Using tongs, turn tomatoes over. Bake 1 hour longer. Turn tomatoes over again. Bake until deep red and very tender, transferring tomatoes to plate when soft (time will vary, depending on ripeness of tomatoes), about 15 to 45 minutes longer.
Layer tomatoes in medium 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 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
And just for poops and giggles, let us take a look at my photo of this dish from last year (August 15th, 2008)