The only thing that is difficult in this recipe is having the patience for everything to be done and cool down — yes, you are reading correctly … the cooking time is three-and-a-half hours. Many of my recipes are ones you can make in advance and set-up the day of the event; I usually make the tomatoes and sauce; then refrigerate them for the next day. This provides less stress in the kitchen during events at the winery. This recipe is really diverse in the fact it can either be used as an appetizer, salad or side.
Roma tomatoes are also called plum tomatoes … why I use them in this recipe is they have less liquid, more flesh and seemingly fewer seeds than your average round tomato. The slow roasting of this tomato will really caramelize the sugars inside the flesh and make them super sweet. Putting the tomatoes on a wire rack is to encourage even cooking throughout the whole tomato and not just the top and bottom of the fruit. Yeppers … tomatoes are fruits!
About the cheese!!! You don’t like goat?? Then use sliced fresh mozzarella, or any other soft white cheese of your choice! I used goat in the recipe because the folks I was originally making it for are lactose intolerant.
In the photo I used dried California apricots … why? To avoid a huge family discussion of California dried apricots versus Turkish dried apricots. You see, my Uncle Shane grew California apricots … those are the ‘brown’ dried apricots you find in the markets. The bright-orange dried apricots in the markets are from Turkey. If you want your sauce to be orange and not the brownish color you see in my photo … use the Turkish apricots. If you want to keep my uncle happy … use California ones …
- 15 Roma tomatoes – sliced in half lengthwise
- ¾ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
- Garlic salt
- 16 oz. goat cheese
- 12 good-sized basil leaves – cut chiffonade style (only slice the day of serving)
- 2 1/2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup of whiskey
- 2 green cardamom seeds
- 6 oz. of dried apricots
- Step 1 In a large roasting pan place a wire rack and tomatoes cut side up, tomatoes can touch each other, but not the sides of the pan.
- Step 2 Mix olive oil and balsamic together with a whisk, when well-blended brush the top of the tomatoes with half of the mixture.
- Step 3 Place pan in stove, after ½ hour remove pan, baste the rest of the oil vinegar mix and sprinkle with garlic salt. Return pan to stove and cook for 3 hours more.
- Step 4 Optional: Refrigerate for one day after roasting.
- Step 5 While tomatoes are in stove make the sauce in a large pot … add, water, white apple cider vinegar, whiskey, cardamom, and apricots. Over low heat reduce the fluid until it’s about a ½-inch deep. You can remove the seeds before the next step, it depends on how strong the flavor you want. Puree and refrigerate overnight.
- Step 6 The day of the party! Bring tomatoes to room temperature and put about a tablespoon’s worth of goat cheese on the flat-side of the tomato, drizzle with apricot sauce and top with ribbons of basil. How to do chiffonade style slices? Stack the leaves of basil on top of each other, roll tightly, that then start thinly slicing widthwise with a non-serrated blade.
- Step 7 If you have extra apricot sauce you can save it for people to drizzle more on the tomatoes if they want. Leftover sauce can be frozen – try it on brie … it’s pretty awesome.