Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Very Versatile Roasted Tomato

Always on the hunt for an easy to make ingredient, I discovered roasted tomatoes a few years ago. With several left over after a dinner party, I decided a little experimentation was in order. I discovered that roasted tomatoes served up countless uses and, because they freeze well, they can be pulled out at the last minute and added to soups, stews, and sauces.



Incredibly versatile, roasted tomatoes work as a side dish as well as the basis for sauces. Cold, they can be tossed with cucumbers and onions for a salad. Peeled and chopped, they add body and flavor to stews, soups, and pastas.



Ripe and over ripe tomatoes work best. If you shop at farmers' markets, keep an eye out for discounted tomatoes. This week at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market, tomatoes were selling for $2.50 - $3.50/pound, but the over ripe ones were priced at 60 cents/pound.



When they're roasting, tomatoes give off a clear liquid. The flavor is pure essence of tomato. The liquid can be used separately to flavor a simple pasta or as a final basting on a grilled meat. The wonderful chef, cookbook writer, and founder of Fra'Mani, Paul Bertolli was famous for hanging tomatoes in cheese cloth and capturing the clear tomato water that he called "the blood of the fruit."



Roasted Tomatoes



Yield: 4 servings

Time: 90 minutes



Ingredients



3 pounds ripe tomatoes (washed, stems removed)

Olive oil

Sea salt and pepper



Method



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the whole tomatoes on a Silpat sheet or a piece of aluminum foil on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 90 minutes. When the tomatoes are removed from the pan, be certain to spatula off all the seasoned olive oil and tomato water. That liquid is full of flavor. Spoon it over the tomatoes.



The tomatoes can be served as a side dish with other vegetables, pasta, and grilled meats.



Roasted Tomato Sauce



Yield: 1 quart

Time: 5 minutes



Ingredients



3 pounds roasted tomatoes



Method



Put the roasted tomatoes through a food mill. Discard the skins and seeds.



Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce



Yield: 2 cups sauce

Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients



1 quart roasted tomato sauce

1/4 pound brown mushrooms (washed, dried, sliced thin)

1 medium yellow onion (washed, peeled, finely chopped)

5 cloves garlic (peeled, finely chopped)

1 cup Italian parsley leaves (washed, finely chopped)

1 tablespoon oregano (optional)

1 tablespoon tamari (optional)

Sea salt and pepper



Method



Sauté the onions and garlic until lightly browned, add the parsley and mushrooms and continuing cooking until lightly browned. Add the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer until the volume is reduced by half. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt, pepper, oregano, or tamari.



The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week or frozen for a month or more.

1 comment:

  1. I bought my sea salt from http://www.sustainablesourcing.com/ I can't wait to try this out!

    ReplyDelete