Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes

Tomato season is like the Halloween of the harvest calendar, a time to gorge for what feels like a very short time. We are having a great tomato year here in New England, and it appears to be going strong for a few weeks yet.

Last week I was faced with a boatload of nature's candy from my CSA: ten pounds of heirlooms and three quarts of cherry tomatoes. Plus a few pounds of tomatillos (which aren't related to tomatoes but I put them in the same culinary bucket). I have lots of recipes I try to hit at least once a summer, like gazpacho, BLTs, tomato basil soup and tomato corn salad. But to mix things up, here's what I did last week. First I roasted some:

Then I made my favorite tomato sauce:

Then I brought a caprese salad to a barbecue:

And you know what? That took care of all my tomatoes and suddenly, I needed more. What I like about the roasted tomatoes and the sauce is that both can be frozen and brought out on a cold winter day. Like many good tomato dishes, you don't need a recipe for caprese, which is a mixture of tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella with some salt, pepper and good olive oil. But here are the other two recipes. Put them in a safe place, because come tomato time, you'll want to use them.

Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes, sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
kosher salt
ground pepper
olive oil
thyme leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay tomato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, oil and thyme. Roast in the oven until slightly browned and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Roasted tomatoes can be frozen at this point, then used in soups and sauces. Or for a decadent appetizer you can bake a puff pastry sheet until golden, then top with a single layer of the roasted tomato slices. Add a dollop of mascarpone and a basil leaf on top of each tomato.

Tomato Butter Sauce
adapted from Marcella Hazan

2 pounds tomatoes, chunked
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
4 T. butter
kosher salt to taste
1/4 c. sliced basil leaves (optional)

In a sauce pan, place tomatoes, onion halves, and butter. Heat on medium heat until bubbling, then lower to a simmer and cook until onion is soft, about 45 minutes. Remove onion halves and discard. Puree sauce with an immersion blender. Add salt to taste and basil leaves.

The sauce can be easily doubled, and it can be frozen. Use on pasta, pizza or lasagna.

1 comment:

  1. I am a busy dad and a tomato monster so easy recipes like this fit perfectly. Thx!