Roasted Herbes de Proven¸e Tomatoes

From Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café
Preparation time: 30 to 50 minutes (only 5 minutes of work)
Yield: 4 to 5 servings, depending on the context
Allow 2 tomatoes per person. (And some persons will probably want more, so consider making extra.)

Serve these with just about anything! They are especially delicious with any kind of egg dish, or scrambled tofu or tempeh.

About herbes de Provençe... thyme, fennel, oregano or marjoram, summer savory, and, delight of delights, lavender. You should be able to find this heavenly mixture in the spice department of your favorite grocery store or "cuisine shop." Herbs lose their intensity and fade out over time, with exposure to heat and light. Solution: Keep them in the freezer.

Use small tomatoes (1 1/2 to 2 ounces each). They'll absorb more flavor and be easier to eat than larger ones.

NOTE: The oven might get smoky during roasting. You can lessen this effect by basting out the juices a few times while the tomatoes are in the oven. This will also serve to concentrate the rich tomato flavor even more.

1 pound plum (Roma) tomatoes (about 10 small ones)
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Herbes de Provençe (up to 1 tablespoon)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lavender flowers for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with foil. Brush with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Thinly slice off the stem ends of the tomatoes, then hold each tomato over a sink and squeeze out the seeds through the sliced opening. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place them cut side-up on the foil.
  3. Roast the tomatoes in the center of the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until they reduce in volume by about 1/3, and the tops look nicely "done." Remove the tray from the oven, and drizzle the tomatoes with a little more olive oil while they rest, still hot, on the tray. Sprinkle each with about 1/8 teaspoon herbes de Provençe. After they cool for about 10 minutes, sprinkle them lightly with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For the deepest flavor, put the tray back into the just-turned-off oven after adding the herbes de Provençe, and leave it in there for another 30 minutes or so. The tomatoes will become chewier and the flavor will continue to intensify. The yield will be slightly lower in that the tomatoes will shrink.
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