Fire-Roasted tomatoes give a rich, slightly smokey flavor to recipes.
Making your own fire-roasted tomatoes is a great way to practice elective frugality, especially if you grow your own tomatoes. I think tomatoes you fire-roast yourself taste better than their store-bought counterparts, and you can season them to your own taste, as well.
Fire-roasting is also a great way to use up and add interest to extra tomatoes you have on hand.
Most instructions on fire-roasting tomatoes require that you fire up your grill.
When I need them for a recipe I want them quicker and less messier than that, especially in the Winter when it's too cold to want to be outside tending a grill.
Besides once the tomatoes soften it's likely they'll fall through the grill onto the coals unless you have a veggie grilling rack. Then there's having to clean both rack and grill.
If you have a toaster oven the process becomes much easier if you don't need a large number of roasted tomatoes. If you're roasting extra to freeze, use your conventional oven's broiler.
I needed a pound's worth for a recipe so I did a batch and a half in my toaster oven set on broil for eight minutes.
During pre-heating I sprayed a thin coating of olive oil on the toaster pan, thickly sliced the large tomatoes into half-inch slices (four slices each tomato), laid them on the pan, sprayed a bit of oil over the top, sprinkled on salt, pepper, and an Italian seasoning mix, and into the toaster oven they went. Oh, and I placed the skin sides uppermost as they'll blacken nicely - and first - for that rich, smokey flavor.
I like to fire-roast my own tomatoes so I can control the level of charring.
It took each batch between eight and ten minutes. As soon as the skins begin to blacken and the slices give up their juices (be sure to reserve the juices) they're done. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool, or add them to your recipe after chopping them into desired bits with a spoon.
Broiling in a conventional oven will take less time so after three or four minutes, check on their progress.
Fire-roasted tomatoes add richness and complexity to sauces for pasta, chili, and whatever and wherever you want deeper, richer flavor from tomatoes.
You can fire-roast cherry tomatoes, as well. Simply slice them in half before adding a thin spray or brushing of oil.
Roma tomatoes and other meaty, less juicy tomatoes are best for fire-roasting, but I use whatever I have on hand with great results...with a bit more liquid resulting.
If your recipe calls for drained tomatoes, drain off liquid from roasting otherwise use the richly-flavored juices and simmer your sauce a little longer or until it reaches the desired consistency.
Fire-roasted tomatoes may be frozen or canned for future use. Can as you would for raw pack tomatoes, adding 2 TBS lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid to each quart. Half those amounts for pints.
Salt may be added at canning or at the time of making your recipe.
Enjoy the taste of fire-roasted tomatoes while saving money!