Monday, March 29, 2021

Cherry Tomato "Candy"

OK, how is it, that I grew up in an Italian household and never heard about, or saw anyone roasting tomatoes?! How could this be? I have no answers. But, I have recently remedied this disturbing part of my past.

During the first episode of the adorable “Waffles and Mochi” on Apple TV, one of my favorite chefs, Samin Nosrat, teaches the two Muppet-type friends how to turn ordinary cherry tomatoes into tomato “candy.” As a sidebar, if you have Apple TV, tune into this show - it’s billed as a “food adventure” show to help families learn to eat healthier by exploring new ingredients. It is really well done, and every episode focuses on a different ingredient and region of the world. 

So, onto the candy! There is very little prep here but a very, very long roasting time, so plan to do this when you’ve got alot of stuff to do around the house. Once you’ve made the candy, you can store it in a glass jar or container, simply covered in olive oil, in the refrigerator for up to six weeks (see notes below).

I’ve been enjoying these tomatoes as a wonderful topping for pasta (with freshly grated ricotta salata and torn basil), as part of an omelette, or simply as a delicious snack. These are sweet little flavor bombs - make them! You won't be disappointed.

Samin Nosrat’s Cherry Tomato “Candy”


2 pints cherry tomatoes, stems removed

2 TB extra virgin olive oil

1/2 t sugar

Fine sea salt


Preheat the oven to 225°F. Set oven rack to middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with 2 TB of olive oil to coat, then add sugar and 1/2 t salt. Gently toss again to coat.

Using your hands, but being careful not to squish the tomatoes, spread tomatoes onto baking sheet in a single layer, then place in the oven on middle rack.

Every 30 minutes or so, jiggle the tomatoes to make sure they’re not sticking to the pan, and rotate the pan 180 degrees - all the way around - to keep the tomatoes cooking evenly. Roast until the tomatoes are semi-dried and shriveled and start to taste like “candy,” about 5 hours.


If you don’t have time to slow-roast the tomatoes, raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Skip the sugar (it will burn at the higher temp) and toss the tomatoes with only olive oil and salt. Roast as directed until the tomatoes are shriveled and just starting to split, about 45 minutes. Tomatoes cooked at this temp won’t hold their shape in pasta and they won’t be quite as sweet, but they will still be delicious.

Because it takes so much time to make the tomato candy, this is a great recipe to double, or even triple, in the summer when every store and farmer’s market has lots of tomatoes. You can put any extra tomato candy in a glass jar, cover the tomatoes with olive oil, and refrigerate up to six weeks. Or, freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid and then pack them into freezer bags and freeze for up to six months.

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