I don't think I've ever been good at math or science, but cooking is something that appeals to me greatly. While cooking doesn't require much in the way of algebra or periodic tables, it does involve chemistry. When I cook I really try to learn what is actually happening in a dish. How do the ingredients interact and what is happening as everything is exposed to heat, salt, sugar, etc?
These oven roasted tomatoes are a nice science experiment. The salt draws water out initially. Eventually, the sugar melts and the oil and balsamic vinaigrette diffuse into the tomato. The heat causes the romas to caramelize, which adds more sweetness. Also, water evaporates during the long cooking process, leaving concentrated flavors. It's all pretty great, and in this case - simple. SCIENCE!
Oven Roasted TomatoesYield
8 roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed (but not the core)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Arrange tomatoes on a sheet pan lined with foil. Drizzle the oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, a small pinch of salt and some pepper over the tomatoes.
3. Roast for 2 hours.
4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
Because the tomatoes are so sweet, it's great to pair them with something savory or sharp. I served these tomatoes with grilled elk and Roquefort sauce. The sharpness of the cheese contrasted nicely with the sweet tomatoes.