I am always looking for a new way to serve tomatoes. They are underrated as a side dish because they are too often busy doing salad or sauce duty. I like using standard plum tomatoes for this but whatever looks best is what you should buy; I have also made this with cherry and heirloom tomatoes. The taste of the toast in the dressing acts almost like an herbed bread crumb mix, but the vinaigrette also gives welcome acidity, making the tomatoes pop more. Make the whole thing in advance and enjoy cold or serve hot out of the oven.
Serves 2 to 4
8 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves chopped (2 teaspoons)
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ slice bread, preferably white or brioche, toasted
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped (1 heaping tablespoon)
¼ cup canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
2. Roast the tomatoes: Put the tomato halves cut side up in a single layer on the baking sheet. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Drizzle the mixture evenly over the tomato halves. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the tomatoes are tender, about 1 hour.
3. Make the dressing: In a food processor, blend the tarragon leaves, chicken broth, toast, vinegar, and shallot, and garlic. With the machine running, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture so it emulsifies. Taste for seasoning.
4. Drizzle the tomatoes with the dressing and serve.
Here’s a way to make tomatoes taste more like their true selves: Sprinkle powdered sugar on them. It will not only add sweetness but also enrich the red color. We associate our best tomato memories with a certain sweetness against the tang of the skin and bitterness of the seeds. That bit of sugar will bring you closer to that dream tomato.