Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Capturing Summer's Bounty
My tomato plants have exploded in the past two weeks. I've already made a big batch of fresh gazpacho, and a wonderful panzanella salad with crumbled ricotta salata, but this is what I collected just this week since I've been back from New England:
I planted a Roma tomato plant and a Yellow Beefsteak plant. Yep, all this and much, much more from two plants I got for $.50 apiece in May.
In search of the perfect tomato sauce recipe to capture the essence of summer, I looked at a variety of recipes for tomato sauce. I wanted something both basic and straightforward that I could add to later, but also something that would be fresh tasting and perfect on its own. I liked the idea of roasting the tomatoes instead of stewing them in a pot, and adding the flavor of roasted garlic as well. So here goes:
Broadsheet's Roasted Garlic and Tomato Sauce
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Take an entire head of garlic and take off as much of the paper from the bulb without separating the cloves. Take the top 1/4 inch of the bulb leaving the cloves intact. Wrap the bulb in a piece of aluminum foil after drizzling a tablespoon of good olive oil into the foil package. Put this package in the oven when you roast the tomatoes.
Take 5-6 pounds of tomatoes, quarter them, and toss them in a large roasting pan. Toss in a large, chopped yellow onion Toss everything well in about 1/4 - 1/3 cup good olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (~ 2 TBL) Add 1 TBL of sugar Sprinkle with sea salt and lots of ground pepper. Toss well.
This is what you have going into the oven:
Whack this in the oven for an hour - stirring every 20 minutes or so. This is what you get:
The tomatoes are completely cooked down and have a bit of a char on them. Don't worry about skins and seeds - this is all gonna get pulverized in a minute.
Let this cool a bit, and then squeeze in all the lovely roasted garlic cloves. To this, add: 1 cup of chopped fresh basil 1/2 cup of chopped fresh oregano 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsely - chopped 1 tsp cayenne pepper to taste
Take an immersion blender to the whole thing. You can make this silky smooth, or just get the garlic and herbs incorporated well, and leave it a tad chunky like I did. Adjust all seasonings before freezing.
I divvied up the sauce into freezer containers and stashed them away till winter. It made nearly three quarts of sauce.
Now, when you thaw this saucy goodness later this fall or winter, you can use it as is, or toss it in a pot and add olives, peppers, capers, and other spices for a Putanesca Sauce. Or, you can add caramelized carrots and celery along with some ground beef, ground pork and cream for a delish Bolognese Sauce. Toss in some pan roasted wild mushrooms like porcini and portobella, along with some caramelized onion, pancetta and lots of Asagio cheese for a great wild mushroom sauce.
The possibilities are endless.
PS Your house will smell amazing when making this sauce. It rocks.