WINTER'S PLEASURE TOMATOES 

This process is one of the world’s best kept secrets! Since I began grilling tomatoes—either fresh ones during the season or bought ones in the winter—I have rarely use just plain tomatoes in sauces and soups. The resulting taste is similar to the flavor enhancement that sun-drying yields.

Yields: Makes about 1 quart for sauces or stews

12 to 15 tomatoes

1 to 2 teaspoons good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish

  1. Preheat grill to medium-hot or 400F (205C) if not already hot. Rinse tomatoes well and place them in a baking pan, covering outside of pan with foil to prevent its discoloration from grill. (Or use a foil pan.)
  2. If baking in an oven, preheat to 400F.  Place the tomatoes on a well greased baking sheet or cover pan with foil. Core the tomatoes and cut an x on the bottom of each. Lightly rub top of each tomato with oil, using as little as possible. Then place pan of tomatoes on grill as it preheats for an entrée you plan to cook, or place it beside entrée if you have room. Grill about 45 to 60 minutes or until tomatoes are blackened on top and are dried and somewhat shriveled-looking. If baking in the oven, turn oven off after 20 minutes and allow tomatoes to stay in oven another 20 minutes or until shriveled. Allow to cool at room temperature until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins and discard. Store in freezer bags or containers if not using immediately.

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