You Can Roast Tomatoes in the Microwave

Photo: A.A. Newton

Of all the many ways to preserve summer tomatoes, slow-roasting them might be my favourite. If you can carve out enough time in your schedule to make a batch, you’ll be rewarded with sweet, juicy little nuggets of savoury tomato candy — they’re everything we love about peak-season tomatoes, concentrated into the perfect bite.

Unfortunately, these delightful morsels also require you to run your oven for at least three hours, which for many people is a dealbreaker right now (and will remain so for another month, at least). Once again, the humble microwave oven comes to the rescue: About 10 minutes in the microwave is a shockingly good substitute for several hours in the oven, and it won’t turn your house into a scorching inferno.

Making microwave roasted tomatoes is also exactly like making the regular kind. This is everything you’ll need to make a batch — or several:

  • A shallow, microwave-safe baking dish (I’ve also successfully used a dinner plate with raised edges)
  • Fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh herbs, bay leaves, and/or unpeeled garlic cloves
  • Olive oil

Halve small tomatoes or quarter large ones, arranging them cut side-up in the baking dish as you go. You want them packed in snugly — they’ll shrink as they cook — but keep them in a single layer so they cook evenly.

When the dish is full, season the tomatoes generously with salt and pepper. Tuck any herbs or garlic cloves in between the tomatoes, then add enough olive oil to come about halfway up the sides, keeping the cut surfaces exposed. Microwave on high power for 10 minutes, checking every 1-2 minutes to see how they’re doing. As with all microwave recipes, the exact cooking time will depend on your oven, the size of the tomatoes, and how many you’re cooking. If they look done after 5 minutes, they’re done; if 10 minutes isn’t cutting it, keep going.

When they’re cooked to your liking, cool the tomatoes completely and transfer to a storage container — with every drop of that delicious oil, of course. If needed, repeat the whole process until you’re out of tomatoes. Your delicious oil-packed tomato candy will keep in the fridge for at least a month — and much longer in the freezer — so you can enjoy a taste of summer long after it’s gone.

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