Sunday, August 12, 2012
Too Many Tomatoes? No such thing!
Nothing beats a fresh tomato, eaten immediately after picking. However, some times you wind up with a batch of tomatoes, rather than one or two perfect specimens. When tomatoes ripen, they often do so all at once, giving cooks an opportunity to cook in quantity and then save for later.
When I was younger, I used to can tomatoes. It was a bit of a pain, I admit, but they sure looked great in their sparkling jars. Then I froze them, back when I had a giant freezer in the basement. Now I roast them and then freeze them in bags. The roasting concentrates both the flavor and the bulk, and it makes a delicious sauce.
Take a large roasting pan and brush it with olive oil. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange them cut side up in the pan. You can crowd them in, but don't pile them up. One layer only, please. Sprinkle with a little salt and some chopped garlic, if you like. You can also throw in some basil or oregano. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Roast in a 400 oven for about an hour, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Check on them after 45 minutes, but it could take up to 90, depending on size. You want them to brown but not completely dry out.
Now put them through a food mill, if you have one and don't like skins. Or, throw them into a blender, skin and all (or use a stick blender). The resulting sauce can be frozen in plastic bags in serving sizes that fit your family. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then use as is in recipes.