Basic beefsteak tomatoes become a luxury item when slow-cooked in the oven with garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and plenty of olive oil. The versatile condiment can be spooned over goat cheese or ricotta crostini, teamed with red wine vinegar, capers or olives, and fresh herbs for a relish, paired with farro, chickpeas, or cannellini beans in salads or side dishes, or layered into a savory tart or frittata. Always make use of the delectable oil from the jar, too.
- 3 lb. medium, ripe beefsteak tomatoes (about 6)
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil; meanwhile, cut a shallow X into the bottom of each tomato. Set a medium bowl of ice water by the stove.
- Gently drop the tomatoes, 2 or 3 at a time, into the boiling water and cook just until the skin loosens, 20–30 seconds. Immediately transfer to the ice water using a slotted spoon or spider. Using your hands, peel the skin off each tomato (it should slip off easily at the X; if it doesn’t, return to the water for about 10 seconds more). Remove the peeled tomatoes from the ice water immediately; repeat with the remaining tomatoes. Slice each tomato in half crosswise, then use your fingers to gently squeeze out the seeds into a bowl. Discard the seeds and juice, or reserve for another use.
- Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Arrange the tomato halves, cut-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (it should be just large enough to hold them snugly in a single layer). Sprinkle evenly with the salt, sugar, and pepper. Distribute the garlic and herbs on top, and drizzle with oil. Bake for 30 minutes, then gently turn the tomatoes so they are cut-side down. Bake for 1½ hours, then turn again. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are completely soft but not falling apart, about 1½ hours more. Let the tomatoes cool in the baking dish, then transfer to an airtight container and pour the oil and herbs over the top. The tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.