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Pomodori a Mezzo (Roasted Tomato Halves)

April 02, 2021

In the past year I have gone to Rome several times to research Jewish food. Each time I am invited to a Jewish home there for a cooking session or for dinner, no matter the season, I am served pomodori a mezzo—tomato halves that have been slowly oven-browned until they’re almost sun-dried. These tiny, candy-like hors d’oeuvres are always gobbled up immediately.

Featured in: How To Turn Tomatoes Into an Italian Treat That Tastes Like Candy


  • 2pounds ripe tomatoes, such as Roma, Campari, or large cherry tomatoes
  • 4tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1clove garlic, minced
  • ½teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • ½teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • ½teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • ½teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or parsley
Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • Step 1

    Cut the tomatoes in half into ovals or circles. Remove the seeds by squeezing the tomato half with one hand and scraping out the seeds with a paring knife in your other hand.

  • Step 2

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rub a 15-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and fill with the tomato halves, skin side down. Sprinkle the garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar over the tomatoes. If using dried herbs, sprinkle them on now. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes.

  • Step 3

    Put the tomatoes in the oven and lower the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for about an hour, or until the tomatoes are extremely soft and a little black. The cooking time will depend on the size of the tomatoes. If using fresh herbs, sprinkle them over the tomatoes as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool to room temperature and serve as an antipasto or a side dish.