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Roasting when it’s roasting

Typically, my enjoyment of summer tomatoes centers heavily on making meals of a bowl of them, chopped or quartered, sprinkled with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and further adorned with torn basil, bits of cheese or whatever I can fish out of the fridge or pantry that looks good.

The dish delivers with minimal effort and no need to crank up an oven at a time of year when I feel like I’ve already been roasting myself at 450 Fahrenheit, and have the crispy skin to prove it.

As great as that is, it gets boring. So the other day, I took a bunch of beautiful summer tomatoes that needed no further processing, quartered them and stuck them in a hot oven for close to an hour.

This is a treatment I usually reserve for the dead of winter, when I’ll buy a carton of waxy winter cherry tomatoes at the supermarket and shove them in the oven to get my warm-weather fix. Roasting concentrates the flavors in any food and accentuates the natural sugars. That’s why it can turn winter tomatoes (or strawberries, if you want to make a January crisp) into something edible.

But it didn’t disappoint with these peak tomatoes, either. I used Heidi Swanson’s recipe, which you can find in her beautiful book, “Super Natural Cooking,” or here on her website.

Goes great with grilled cheese.