21 July 2012

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Mouans Sartoux, France


I don't know how to describe these tomatoes to you without getting overly-excited.  They are the tastiest and most delicious tomato dish I have ever tasted in my life.   I am not saying that because I was the one who cooked it.  It's because it really is.  I can't even continue writing this without thinking of having them again.
  

What inspired these flavors was a bottle of sun-dried tomatoes from the small island of Vulcano, in Isole Eiolie (Aeolian Islands). The bottle was finishing and I was already panicking.   It's very difficult to find it, quite impossible even.  That's when the idea of slow-roasting the tomatoes using capers and oregano came out.  I was hoping to recreate the flavors without having to take a plane to Sicily, a bus and a ferry to the island to have some more. 



After waiting for 2-1/2 hours, I was rewarded with these tomatoes.  They're not really as strong as the sun-dried tomatoes but the flavors were there, really there!  And I would like to push you to make them if you like tomatoes.   I used them as a topping for the bruschette and salad.  When I will make them again, I will use them with the pasta.  The possibilities are endless. 



I am in my friend's garden in an ancient village in Cote d'Azur, reclined under the shade of an apricot tree, listening to my 2-year old daughter's ramblings about the leaves and the dried tree sap of the tree.  I'm waiting for my turn to bake the tomatoes to accompany our grilled meat for dinner.  I can hear my friend's noises in the kitchen from her 2nd-floor window while she's preparing the clafoutis.  I can already imagine a sumptuous dinner. 


I had been spending my days visiting some old villages, a food market and trying the local food.  It had been marvelous immersing myself to the French life in this part of the country.  My non-existent French, a bit of Italian and English limit me to interact with the people but as I watch and listen to my friend converse with them in their language, I can see how friendly and warm the people are. 


The first place we went to when I arrived was a town market of Mouans Sartoux.  There was a mixture of sorts, clothes, things for the house, plants, flowers and food.  Food markets are my favorite destinations in places I visit and to be in one in a small town in France makes my trip much more special.   Give me just a few stalls of them and I will be happier than a kid with a lollipop.   At the market, I got some saucissons de provence with figs, roquefort, pepper, olives and the classic.   I am bursting with excitement! 


Here are some pictures of the town of Speracedes and and the market of Mouans Sartoux.
They are both ancient little villages of the region of Alpes-Maritimes.  

I hope you are all having a good weekend!



Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:
  • 500 g. datterini tomatoes, halved (or any sweet tomatoes you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon brown cane sugar
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon capers (preserved in vinegar but if you cannot find any, you can also use the ones preserved in salt)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Soak the capers in water for about 10 minutes.  Drain then squeeze the capers lightly to send away excess liquid.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, salt & oregano. 
  3. Pour this mixture on the halved tomatoes and mix with your hands.  Add the capers and extra virgin olive oil.  Mix everything using your hands.
  4. Transfer to a baking pan.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 130 degrees Celsius for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. If you see that the tomatoes are drying up, pull the pan out of the oven and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Cook again.


16 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos, Rowena! The tomatoes, the serving spoons, and France! A lovely post from every angle :). Glad you are having a nice vacation!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These tomatoes look wonderful, I sometimes find tht sundried tomatoes are too sharply flavored, so i will try this. A nice middle ground between fresh and dried. Do you think if you packed these in olive oil they would keep for a while?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue. Yes, this really is in the middle of the fresh ones and the sun-dried ones. Less sharp but nonetheless flavorful. If you are going to keep them submerged in olive oil in a small jar in the fridge, I think they will keep well.

      Delete
  3. I love roasted tomatoes--I just made some last week. :) Roasting gives the tomatoes such depth and brings out their sweetness. I usually roast mine with herbs and balsamic vinegar but I'll have to try your version with capers next. Glad you're having a great time. Keep the travel pictures coming! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The capers gave them and oregano gave them a wonderful flavor Jean. I hope you will try this one because I really loved them. I cooked them again here in France for my friend and she loved it too!

      Delete
  4. I know this is a fabulous dish because I ate tomatoes like this often when I lived in Itay. When summer comes around again in the southern hemisphere and tomatoes are cheap, I really must make this because I can almost taste the flavours right off the page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tomatoes are what I love most in Italy. They are so sweet and maintain a permanent role in the gastronomy. This is such a tasty recipe. I hope you get to do it when you find the right tomatoes. :-)

      Delete
  5. These would be amazing stirred through aglio olio pasta! These tomatoes look so juicy and plump in your photos. I'm bookmarking these to try as soon as possible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda! I tried the leftovers with pasta, adding just a bit more oil, caper and oregano. It was delicious! I hope you try it too!

      Delete
  6. Beautiful recipe :) And all photos are so gorgeous :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. As usual, delicious photos of your food and your travels never fail to impress me!

    It's so amazing how brightly red your tomatoes there in Italy are! Wish ours were just as pretty and juicy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen, the important thing is that they are sweet however they look like. Thanks!

      Delete
  8. These roasted tomatoes look delightful...and love these gorgeous photos!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was looking for a new roasted tomato recipe and ended up here to ejoy this lovely post -- I've not been to France yet and your descriptions and photos have me wishing I could be there. Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I would love to know what you think!