The tomatoes arrived orange. It has been nearly 9 months since I’ve had a decent tomato but if memory serves me correctly tomatoes are suppose to be red. Not just any red. The kind of red that makes Dorothy’s slippers seem dull and lifeless.
Red like the color of our first car. We called it the “Red Hot” and it was anything but hot. An Oldsmobile Achieva that we bought from Gabe’s grandparents and took with us when we move to LA. It screamed to have American Flags waving from the back windows, so we obliged. There we were driving our intensely red, “red hot” down the streets of Beverly Hills, American Flags flapping proudly. He dropped me off at work in that car right along side the Bentley’s and Rolls’.
Rather than trying to wait for the flavor to magically develop with the aid of a brown paper bag, which would merely hint at the tomatoes I will be tasting in a few months, I decided these orange tomatoes needed several hours in a warm oven. There they concentrate into a sweet acidic bite that perfectly accompanies bacon and lettuce sandwiched in between two pieces of lightly toasted bread.
I’m talking about a B L slow-roasted T. Throw in the addition of a Basil mayo and you are looking at my latest favorite sandwich. One that can be eaten at any time, any place – even now as we wait for those “Red Hot”-like tomatoes that appear around here in late August. Until those intensely hot days that allow the tomato to concentrate the sun’s heat into an aromatic, sweet fruit, I will use the aid of my oven. I’m not complaining one bit.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
You can do this with essentially any tomato although the roasting time will vary. I used about 8 barely ripe Romas. I sliced them ¼” thick and laid those on a parchment lined sheet tray with a few sprigs of thyme. After a very light drizzle of olive oil and a whisper of salt (remember these will reduce by quite a bit so don’t overdo it with the salt at this point) they go into a 225* for about 4 hours or until shriveled around the edge while still maintaining a bit of juice. Because of the low oven heat these do not color at all but rather slowly concentrate their flavors and intensify.
If you don’t use all of your tomatoes simply cover the leftover with olive oil and place in the fridge. In fact, I highly recommend making a very large batch as these little beauties will find many great uses (pasta, antipasti, straight from the jar, cheese tray, grilled cheese, etc.)
½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
Stir together mayonnaise and basil.
Apply basil mayo, generously to two slices of lightly toasted bread. Add crispy bacon, lettuce and cooled, roasted tomatoes.