I didn’t grow up in a family that did much preserving, so it wasn’t until I started working at the farmers’ market that I adjusted my idea of tomato quantity from singles to cases. The first time I had a kitchen full of tomatoes ripe to bursting, I canned the whole lot of them. The seeds! The mess! The skins! It was not a positive experience. And although I’ve grown more comfortable with tomato canning over the years, I’ll always choose roasting and freezing when I have the chance. Here’s how it works: Cut tomatoes in half or in quarters. Lay them on parchment-lined trays. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and herbs, and roast in a 250°F oven forever, that is, 1 to 2 hours for cherry or grape tomatoes and up to 4 or 5 hours for larger tomatoes. This method creates trays full of outrageously delicious tomato gold: sugary caramelized bits, tomato juice and herb-infused oil, and roasted tomato pulp that will improve the flavor of endless recipes in the kitchen. I tip the full contents of each tray into a freezer bag and stack them in the freezer. The bags get opened throughout the year to thaw and become tomato sauce, soup, and anything that calls for canned tomatoes.
Tomatoes will roast almost as well at higher temps if you’re in a hurry, so I’ve upped the heat to speed this recipe along. Roasted cherry tomatoes really make this late-summer salad special, and the deep red against the kale is gorgeous. If you have different varieties and colors of small tomatoes, even better. All of the components in this salad can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)
- Kosher salt
- 5½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed into a paste with the side of a knife or a garlic press
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ loaf rustic sourdough or ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces), torn into large bites
- 1 large bunch kale (about 8 ounces), stems removed, leaves torn or chopped
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut each cherry tomato in half lengthwise and line them up on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast until they begin to collapse, about 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the balsamic vinegar and garlic paste in a small jar. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Close the jar and shake to combine.
- Prepare the bread. Heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the bread and fry, stirring often, until the edges crisp up and begin to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Combine the kale, bread, and feta in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing, if desired. Gently fold in the tomatoes and any liquid on the tray. Top with salt and pepper.