Now is the time when we Midwesterners get desperate. We’re about as far as we can get from fresh fruits and vegetables. Storage apples, onions, and root vegetables have all but disappeared. I just want some variety in the produce I can buy! This is when I inevitably think it is a good idea to buy a plastic carton of cherry tomatoes, which are almost always a disappointment.
A couple of years ago, I took to roasting them which provides some extra flavor. So, my interest was piqued when Saveur suggested roasting them with maple syrup. I like tomato jams and other sweet applications of tomatoes, so it seemed worth a try.
They were savory and sweet and full of more flavor than any mid-winter tomato I had ever tasted. I was impressed with how well the maple and tomato flavors played off of each other. I liked eating these out of the bowl like candy, but they would be great on crostini (with some goat cheese), in a grilled cheese or tossed with some pasta. You’ll definitely find a use for them.
Maple Syrup-Roasted Tomatoes (or Tomate Confite au Sirop d’Érable, as my French-Canadian friends would say–adapted from Saveur)
- 20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 250°. Arrange tomato halves cut side up on an aluminum foil—lined baking sheet (with rim). Whisk together syrup, oil, thyme, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper in a bowl and then drizzle over tomatoes. Bake until tomatoes are half-dried and concentrated, 2-3 hours.