Summer is winding down, and I’m not losing one day of in-season tomatoes. Not. One. Day. Every Thursday, I head to my local Coldiretti market to see the selection from Luca Goretti. Between their stand and the other farmers, I can find a mix of cherry, grape, sun gold, beefheart, and zebra tomatoes, to name a few. Over the course of a week, I’ll work my way through them in a multitude of recipes and salads. Today I’m sharing one of our favorites; skillet roasted tomatoes.
The origin of skillet roasted tomatoes
This recipe comes from our friends Filippo and Katy, who live on the mountain next to ours, Colle della Trinita. They are luthiers who make violins, violas, and cellos – oh my! Visiting the Protani Violins workshop is fascinating. The walls are lined with woodworking tools, utilizing every inch of vertical space. The special woods they use are neatly stacked and categorized. Every detail is fine-tuned and beautifully hand-crafted, even down to the special dyes and varnishes made from natural ingredients like walnut husks.
Filippo also happens to be a grill master who served as a competition judge for the Kansas City Barbeque Society. As you might imagine, we never pass up a dinner party at their place. One of my favorite dishes they make are these skillet roasted tomatoes. They’re a little spicy, a little jammy, and pack in a lot of umami. They can be used as a side dish for grilled meats, spooned on top of toast with herbed whipped ricotta, and are fantastic with pasta.
The simplicity of skillet roasted tomatoes
What I love about his recipe for skillet roasted tomatoes is the simplicity. I know I talk about that a lot – have you noticed a trend? We are ALL about easy recipes! Here, we toss everything together in a bowl, put the ingredients in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, cover, and let them cook on the lowest heat for 1.5-2 hours. You don’t even have to stir the tomatoes. The only real effort comes at the end when you remove the lid to let the liquid evaporate. At that point, you need to keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn. Once the liquid has evaporated/condensed to your liking, let them rest in the pan until completely cooled. Do not skip the cooling step.
Variations on skillet roasted tomatoes
There are a few variations on these skillet roasted tomatoes. Make them spicier by adding dried chili flakes. Make them garlic forward by adding more cloves and then spread the slow-roasted cloves on toast. Just be sure you don’t add more than a splash of vinegar. The tomatoes are already acidic, so we don’t want to go overboard.
Which type of pan should I use for skillet roasted tomatoes?
There are various opinions out there on which type of pan to use for skillet roasted tomatoes. We love using cast iron and are not afraid of putting tomatoes in there. The key is that the pan must be well-seasoned. If you do not have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, I suggest using a ceramic pan.
Enough cherry tomatoes to fill a cast iron skillet
1 clove garlic (smashed)
Generous pinch of fine sea salt
A few rounds of fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp paprika
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Splash of worcestershire sauce
Fresh basil, groups of 4ish leaves
Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet over low heat. Add 4 tbsp olive oil to coat the pan.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire. Toss to combine.
Add tomato mixture to cast iron skillet, top with a few groups of basil leaves, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 1.5 hours.
Near the end of the 1.5 hours, remove the lid to allow liquid to evaporate and condense to your liking.
Let the tomatoes rest in the pan until completely cooled.