When baked, tomatoes caramelize and their natural sweetness is intensified. The flavor of tomatoes is concentrated and they taste so good they can be eaten straight out of hand. Baked tomatoes are quite versatile and make a light and healthy snack. They can be served as an appetizer, as a side dish to a main meal, or as a condiment in sandwiches or paninis. They can also be added to pasta, chili, salsa, salads, rice, vegetables, stews, and sauces. They also make a great stuffing or filling for omelets, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, and other vegetables. Use them as a garnish for salmon, tuna, or grilled chicken.
In this gourmet recipe, fresh ripe tomatoes are drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven until caramelized. Garlic and fresh basil is used to garnish the baked tomatoes. You can also top the tomatoes with some feta cheese or sprinkle some Parmesan for a delicious and elegant hors d’oeuvres. There should be space in between tomatoes when you lay them out on the baking sheet so they have room to caramelize. If they are too crowded, the tomatoes will steam or sweat.
Baking tomatoes is also an excellent method for preserving them. You can store the tomatoes longer in an airtight container inside the fridge for later use. This is the prefect recipe for using up a surplus of tomato harvest and a must when tomatoes are in season. For even longer storage, you can freeze the baked tomatoes so you can use them the next season, all winter long.
While it is best to use sweet and plump tomatoes to make a delicious treat, you can still make this recipe with less-than-stellar tomatoes that are on the bland side. Baking bland-tasting tomatoes is a great technique for coaxing out their flavor and making them taste better.