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.
March 3rd, 2011 at 9:55 am
What a great idea to perk up flavorless tomatoes. Perfect!
Sarah (Coffee Beans & Curry Leaves) says:
March 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 am
I’ve always been a fan of oven roasting tomatoes but I’ve never tried adding maple syrup before. I think I’m going to try this and (if I can hold off from eating all of them immediately) make some into that grilled cheese you mentioned. Yum!
Amelia from Z Tasty Life says:
March 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 am
this is vegetable candy!!! how delectable. The maple must balance the acidity in a very unusual way. I imagine this to go wonderfully with a sharp cheese, like pecorino.
March 3rd, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Yes, Amelia. I also think Manchego would be worth a try.
March 3rd, 2011 at 12:56 pm
Wonderful! It could the place of chutney in in a pork dinner or pork sandwich!!
March 3rd, 2011 at 1:06 pm
thanks for the inspiration…we in Maine are feeling the same way! the eternal winter.
Lisa (dinner party) says:
March 3rd, 2011 at 1:11 pm
Wow, what a smart idea. I roast cherry tomatoes all the time–next time I’ll add a little syrup.
March 3rd, 2011 at 3:46 pm
I love roasted tomatoes. They are a totally different vegetable or should I say fruit, than raw tomatoes. I love the deep, dark caramelized flavors. They are great on BLTs, too, with arugula in the place of regular lettuce. Pretty perfect sandwich. I think the maple would go great with the bacon too & the bitterness of the arugula.
March 3rd, 2011 at 6:30 pm
I do the same thing with tomatoes every winter. And always regret it. I am going to keep this in mind when my own moment of weakness comes.
March 3rd, 2011 at 6:47 pm
I roast tomatoes every summer when they are in season, and then I freeze them to use in the winter so I don’t ever need to buy the ones in the plastic cartons. It’s super easy (with or without maple syrup) and you can spread them out on baking sheets to freeze just like any other fruit, and store them in ziplock bags.
March 3rd, 2011 at 7:00 pm
That is smart, Hannah. Unfortunately, I never have enough room in my freezer for everything I want to save.
March 3rd, 2011 at 8:47 pm
Like Hannah, we freeze roasted tomatoes for times like this… and we dehydrate heirloom cherry varieties for rehydrating. But, every now and again, I definitely get a hankering for something fresh — and I’m intrigued by the maple flavor here.
I’m totally into the goat cheese combo. And I can imagine many a pizza on which these would be fabulous.
March 5th, 2011 at 3:51 am
I love this idea! The fresh tomatoes we get here at this time of year are utterly tasteless and watery and need a bit of help, so this is perfect.
March 5th, 2011 at 6:40 pm
I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of maple, but we’ve made these twice in two days substituting some local honey. AMAZING. Especially on goat cheese crostini like you suggested.
Sweets by Vicky says:
March 6th, 2011 at 1:43 am
Ooh yum! Roasted tomatoes are at the top of my favourite vegetables. Maple syrup could really only make it so much more spectacular.
March 6th, 2011 at 9:30 am
We made an adaptation of these TWO DAYS IN A ROW with sungold cherry tomatoes from the grocery store and honey instead of maple syrup. They were utterly divine, a ray of sunlight in the endlessly grey Massachusetts winter. Thanks, Tim. And thanks to the store that stocks sungolds! (Best tomato ever.)
March 6th, 2011 at 3:43 pm
I think this is a brilliant food “cheat”–just put the tomatoes in my oven a few minutes ago. They’re probably destined for a BLT later… yum!
March 6th, 2011 at 10:13 pm
Glad to hear y’all are trying this. A BLT with these sounds like such a good idea that I am going to make another batch and try! Thanks, everyone.
March 6th, 2011 at 10:43 pm
I was just looking at that spread in Saveur and thinking that those tomatoes looked amazing. Your post has convinced me that they are definitely worth making.
March 7th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
I am in CA, and even here there is lot to be desired in the produce department right now. I just broke down and bought those same tomatoes for a dinner party last week and just did the standard roast with olive oil and some fresh herbs. This maple infusion may be enough to make me fall prey to the plastic carton again…
Beleye (Living in Dresden) says:
March 8th, 2011 at 9:51 am
In Dresden( Germany) we are also suffering from eternal winters! I Know what you are talking about. The maple tomatos are delicious. Thank you!
March 8th, 2011 at 11:41 am
Beautiful little treats! I used yellow cherry tomatoes and put them in a salad with goat cheese & dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. I love the idea of these in mini BLTs as part of a cocktail spread.
March 14th, 2011 at 7:30 am
I was pouring over this in Saveur just this weekend — looks delish!
March 22nd, 2011 at 10:02 pm
It may be possible that there is even less desirable produce here in Alaska in the winter. I love other veggies oven roasted with maple syrup as well–carrots are always great.
June 15th, 2011 at 3:46 pm
Made them yesterday .all gone. The grandchildren ate them like candy. I had put some in the salad , the crunch is to die for.
June 15th, 2011 at 4:40 pm
Louise- Success! If the grandkids are eating tomatoes like candy, I think we have a successful recipe on our hands. So glad you all liked the recipe too!
August 8th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
a little late to comment here, but have to say that i, too, saw these in saveur and tried them. they are now a cocktail party standard, SO easy, forgiving, and downright cheap! absolute perfection with a crusty baguette and some goat cheese.
August 8th, 2011 at 8:42 pm
Never too late, Serena! Thanks for checking in—these are great!
August 9th, 2015 at 11:08 pm
Hi Tim, interesting recipe! I would like to try. Only a question, 250° are fahrenheit or cersius? I suppose fahrenheit that corresponds to 120° C more or less, because I think that 2-3 hours at 250°c it’s a little bit to much…sorry I live in Italy and we use Celsius scale.
Today I’m going to the grocery store to look for the maple syrup, not so easy to find here in Italy, and I think that honey is sweeter than maple syrup, isn’t it?