Gilding the tomato
'Secret ingredient': Slow-roasting helps unleash the essence of cherry tomatoes
Whether they're Sun Golds or Tumbling Toms or heirlooms named yellow pear or black plum, cherry tomatoes can play multiple roles beyond the salad bowl. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
4 pounds ripe heirloom cherry tomatoes, about 6 1/2 pints
6 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce aged balsamic vinegar
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Place onion halves cut-side down in skillet; cook until caramelized, 4 minutes on each side. Set aside 1/4 pound tomatoes (about 3/4 cup) for garnish. Place remaining tomatoes, the caramelized onions and garlic on 2 rimmed baking sheets; drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven, 30 minutes.
2. Place roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil and chicken or vegetable stock in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Puree soup in a blender, in batches if necessary. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cut reserved cherry tomatoes in half. Serve in warm soup bowls garnished with goat cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and a balsamic vinegar drizzle.
Per serving: 376 calories, 22 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 862 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.
Red snapper with roast cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil
Note: Adapted from Antony Worrall Thompson's "The Essential Low Fat Cookbook."
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put 9 ounces each red cherry tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes in a bowl with 12 peeled garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper; toss to coat. Turn seasoned tomatoes into a roasting pan, place in oven and roast 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut 4 skinless snapper fillets (about 6 ounces each) into 1-inch dice. Add fish pieces to tomatoes; season lightly. Roast another 10 to 12 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon drained tiny capers, 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and 16 fresh basil leaves, torn. Toss very gently to combine and wilt basil leaves; take care not to break up the fish. Serve immediately. Makes: 4 servings.