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Author Notes: Years ago I found my favorite recipe for roasted tomatoes in Cooking Light magazine. The idea is simple: you toss tomatoes with some olive oil, herbs. and lemon zest; then roast until they’re irresistible. I’ve modified this recipe in dozens of different directions over the years, but the recipe below is my favorite way to prepare and serve this dish. It's nestled inside a simple polenta crust which makes this pie naturally gluten-free. The pie is filling enough to make a vegetarian main dish as long as you have a few other sides, but it's also light enough to play well with others as a side dish. Once you've had this dish, when you see summer's bounty of tomatoes, I hope the first thing you think is, "Pie!" —vrunka
Roasted Tomato Filling
- 4-5 pounds fresh tomatoes (I prefer cherry, but any will do. I recommend staying on the smallish side)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
- freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- more fresh herbs for garnish
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups water or stock (chicken or veggie)
- 1 cup polenta
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stem and halve all the tomatoes. combine them in a large bowl with the oil, herbs, zest, garlic, pepper, sugar, and salt. Pour into a 9x13 (or larger; lots of surface area is what you're after) baking dish and roast for 30-45 minutes or until much of the liquid is gone and the tomatoes are soft and gooey. You’ll want to stir them a few times during cooking. When they're done, remove them from the oven and stir in the cornmeal. You could stop right now and just grab a spoon, but trust me, it’s even better in a pie.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, work on the polenta crust. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually pour in the polenta while whisking constantly. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring with a wooden spoon every few minutes, until the polenta has softened and is pulling away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 25-30 minutes.
- Spoon the polenta into a well-oiled pie pan. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, pat the polenta evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You want the crust to be about 1/4-inch thick.
- Pour the roasted tomatoes into the prepared polenta pie shell. Place the pie under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes have browned. Remove from oven and immediately top with cheese (if using), lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Wait about 10 minutes before serving so it can set up.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side
- This recipe was entered in the contest for A&M Smackdown / Your Best Tomato Recipe