A side dish of cooked tomatoes—simply fried, roasted, or grilled— makes an excellent accompaniment to many main courses. Use these three simple techniques to cook up a storm with your tomatoes.

The basic methods for cooking tomatoes can be applied and expanded on in so many ways, and tomatoes married with such a diverse combination of ingredients, that you could easily fill shelves and shelves with tomato recipe books. Hopefully, you will find some useful, easy, and delicious recipes to tempt you in the next section, but you can use these basic techniques as building blocks. Experiment with tomato varieties and with other ingredients. Trust your taste buds, and enjoy your time in the kitchen.

GRILLING AND CHAR-GRILLING - under the broiler, in a pan, or on the grill

Char-grilling in a ridged cast-iron grill pan or on a griddle is a great method for plum, globe, and even cherry tomatoes. Simply arrange the tomatoes in a very hot pan—there is no need to add oil. Let sizzle, turning from time to time, until they are charred but not burned.

PAN-FRYING - halved, quartered, sliced, or chopped: the choice is yours

Pan-frying works well with globe, plum, and cherry tomatoes. Heat a little olive oil or butter, or a mixture of both, in a pan. Add the tomatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened. Season and serve. If you like, start by sautéeing some chopped onion first, then add a little garlic, and then add your tomatoes. Sometimes simple is best.

ROASTING - choose your seasonings, drizzle with a little olive oil, and roast

Roasting is great for most tomato varieties. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper. Fill with halved, quartered, or even sliced tomatoes. Add peeled garlic cloves, lemon slices, and some thyme or oregano. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season, and roast in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 25-30 minutes. For sweetly flavored slow-roasted tomatoes, roast at 275°F (140°C) for at least 2 hours.

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