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Slow-Roasted Yellow Cherry Tomatoes w/ Garlic & Marjoram

Tomatoes in January you ask?  Why yes...tomatoes in January.  Not something usually associated with the Midwest in wintertime, I know.  Well, unless you count the rows of jarred, canned, and dried tomatoes in many forms that line many a pantry.  Like mine.  I'm really not willing to go without tomatoes half of the year.  Sure, I can be found breaking down and buying some Roma's from the market from time to time, as well.  

But I found another great option.  Locally grown greenhouse tomatoes.  Oh. Yeah.  Sweet and juicy and a ray of sunshine against the harsh snow-so-white-it's-blue.   Just the thought brings a tug of yearning in my chest.  Imagine maneuvering across a treacherous path with snow crunching under  your boots...black ice waiting to send your feet sky-high...barren branches reaching out to snap your scarf and gloves.  Now imagine a greenhouse radiating...glowing...with warmth.  The interior is lush and green and so cozy you want to plant yourself on the overturned stacks of terra cotta pots and take a nap under the snaking vines dripping with a rainbow of fleshy tomatoes.  
Well.  That's what it looks like in my head, anyway.  In reality, I bought them from a stand in a farmer's market from a farmer's kid who may or may not have stumbled from their cozy greenhouse refuge mere hours before they handed me my change.

I admit to popping a few of these in my mouth so that I could feel the warm juices and seeds burst...reminding me of summers past.  But really, I just wanted to get home so that I could coax out the absolute sweetest and deepest and complex notes from these little gold orbs by roasting them ever-so-slowly in a low oven.  And now, they are nestled snuggly in a jar offering me bites of sunshine to help me through the cold.
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Slow-Roasted Yellow Cherry Tomatoes w/ Garlic & Marjoram

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: ~2½ hours
Keywords: roast condiment snack preserving vegan vegetarian tomatoes garlic summer fall winter

Ingredients (1 scant cup)
  • 1 pint Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • few springs fresh margoram
  • olive oil
  • kosher or coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Preheat oven to 225° F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.

Lay tomatoes on prepared tray, cut side up. Scatter garlic and marjoram on and around the tomatoes.
Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Slide into preheated oven and bake for ~2-2½ hours or until tomatoes are shriveled, but still a bit juicy-looking.

Let cool. Eat or use immediately or pack into a jar and cover with olive oil. Store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Also, peel the garlic cloves and pack those in the jar, if you wish.
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Slow-roasting any sort of tomato really concentrates and deepens their sweet flavor.  Try this with any variety, adding more time for larger tomatoes.  Also, switch up the herbs depending on the season or your personal preference.

Try eating these alongside cheese and bread/crackers or in a BLT or grilled cheese sandwich.  Perhaps atop a pizza or a turkey burger in place of ketchup or tossed into a salad w/ cooked grains, fresh herbs, and tangy goat cheese.
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