Nigella Lawson's Trick To Sweeten Up Out-Of-Season Tomatoes

Sure, you can get tomatoes in any grocery store year-round. And those tomatoes? They look gorgeous, glistening red, and oh, so tempting. But out-of-season tomatoes are all show. They lie to you and promise summer-sweet flavor and perfect texture while delivering anemic flavor and rock-hard or mealy flesh. What's a cook to do? First, canned tomatoes are perfectly serviceable for many purposes, particularly for sauces and soups.

But when tomatoes are the star of the show, for example, on a sandwich or in a salad, those out-of-season tomatoes will drag your dish down. Canned tomatoes won't do for a Caprese salad, for example. And while we have a delicious cherry tomato version of the classic Caprese, Nigella Lawson has developed a brilliant method for bringing out more flavor than you'd think possible from those deceptively pretty-but-flavorless out-of-season tomatoes that are all you can find for many months every year. Need to kick up the flavor in January tomatoes? There's a hack for that!

It requires a little patience

Lifehacker explains that Nigella's tomato trick is super simple, though your sweetened-up tomatoes won't be ready right away. Here's how she does it: heat the oven up to a scorching 450 F while you prep the tomatoes. Slices the tomatoes in half and put them on a baking sheet. Make sure you don't slice your tomatoes too thin or they'll dry out too much. Sprinkle a little salt and a touch of sugar on the cut sides and even sprinkle on a little thyme if you like.

Once your oven is hot and your tomatoes are prepped, put the baking sheet in the oven and turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight, making sure not to open the oven. In the morning, you'll have transformed your tomatoes into sweet and still-juicy beauties suitable even for a starring role in a dish like our heirloom tomato and ricotta tart.