At last, they’re here in abundance, and in all manner of shapes and sizes and colors. What heaven! Here’s a lovely recipe for gently cooked ripe tomatoes layered with buttered garlic crumbs, as well as instructions for roasting them, which concentrates and deepens their incomparable flavor.

SCALLOPED TOMATOES WITH BUTTERED GARLIC CRUMBS

To make fresh bread crumbs, tear 4 to 5 slices of good-quality white bread into pieces and whir in a food processor.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

4 cups fresh bread crumbs or Panko crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or marjoram

2 tablespoons snipped chives

1 large garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for sprinkling

5 tablespoons melted butter

6 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced about ½-inch thick

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, oregano, chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle butter over crumb mixture and toss to combine thoroughly. Spread about half the mixture out in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, such as a 9-by-11-inch dish, and press down firmly to make an even “crust.” Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 10 minutes. (Crust can be baked a couple hours ahead and held, loosely covered, at cool room temperature.)

Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes over the crust, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Repeat until all tomatoes are used, finishing with a top layer of crumbs.

Return the casserole to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the tomatoes just begin to soften, their juices have started to run and the crumbs are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

OVEN-ROASTED TOMATOES

Some recipes call for several hours in a slow oven, but I find that an hour or so at 350 degrees F does the job perfectly. You can use any type or color tomato, but plum tomatoes are the meatiest and produce the most substantial result.

Makes about ¾ cup

6 to 12 plum tomatoes (or other types), about 1½ pounds

Salt

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Core tomatoes and cut lengthwise in quarters if small, and in eighths if large. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and arrange tomatoes cut sides up in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and dribble with a small amount of oil.

Roast in the preheated oven, without turning, until the tomatoes soften, give up their juice, and are caramelized on the bottom, 1 to 1½ hours, depending on size. Grind black pepper over.

Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze.

Here are some serving suggestions for your Oven-Roasted Tomatoes:

 Spread French bread croutes with goat cheese, add a small smear of pesto, and top with a tomato for an hors d’oeuvre.

 Fold roasted tomatoes in half and skewer on toothpicks with small wedges of mozzarella and a basil leaf.

 Layer country bread with thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese and top with a thin slice of red onion and roasted tomatoes for lunch.

 To boost flavor of almost any other sandwich, (turkey, cucumber, avocado, roast beef, chicken, etc.), add a layer of roasted tomatoes.

 Soften garlic in a small amount of olive oil; add heavy cream and simmer until reduced by one-third. Coarsely chop roasted tomatoes and add to the cream with a handful of torn basil. Toss with hot pasta and pass grated pecorino cheese.

 Sauté zucchini, a sliced sweet pepper and sliced onion in olive oil until caramelized. Add coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes to heat through. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and serve with crusty country bread.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides and Salads to Match.” She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny