The tomato crop this year was simply glorious! It was such a relief because last year the tomatoes were almost nonexistent and it was a mournful summer as a result. Despite not being able to personally attend the farmer’s markets this summer I was happily able to order from a few nice farms using Good Eggs. I have indulged myself completely and filled my orders with heirloom tomatoes of every color.
One week Good Eggs was offering Monsanto-free Early Girl tomatoes at a pretty cheap price per pound so I bought 4 pounds, plus 3 pints of cherry tomatoes in various hues. I planned to make a fresh salsa-like tomato sauce but got tired, so I decided to slow roast them.
It feels like everyone on social media and my recipe swap has been slow roasting tomatoes, so despite being very late to the party I began roasting them and was so pleased with how well they came out.
After a quick rinse I quartered the tomatoes and left the cherry tomatoes whole, dumped them into my favorite jelly roll pan, slivered in a clove of garlic and scattered handfuls of basil leaves and a light scattering of oregano. I used a light hand with olive oil, salt and pepper and then at the last minute added a good hunk of butter over everything. The oven was on at 250 F, I set the timer for three hours and promptly took a long nap.
After three hours, voila, the perfectly roasted tomatoes and my nap were complete. It was far beyond dinner time by then, so I slid them into a plastic container, scraping every last bit of juice and butter into the container, and bung it into the fridge.
I pondered a bit on what to do then. One week, I heated up the batch of tomatoes gently and tossed them with pasta and some leftover chicken. Another time I pureed them with my immersion blender and added a slosh of vodka and a dash of leftover cream and warmed this while the pasta cooked. Another time I pureed half of them and left the other half whole and added dollops of ricotta to each bowl of pasta. Another time I made goat cheese stuffed meatballs and seasoned breadcrumbs and poached the meatballs in the pureed sauce. The last time I pureed the whole batch and added more butter. It tasted just like Marcella Hazan’s butter tomato sauce, and no stirring required! If I made these on the weekend I napped and if it was after work I was done well in time for an early bedtime (being gimpy and healing is very tiring).
Each time I slow roasted a batch of tomatoes I wanted to save some in the freezer for that dreary part of January through March when all of the tomatoes are pasty pink nasty mealy things. After making a packet of pasta I would use up an entire batch of tomatoes. I kept buying more tomatoes, four pounds, then six, then eight pounds and still had no leftovers for the freezer.
Last night I succumbed to a wild impulse and bought an entire case of San Marzano tomatoes from Good Eggs, I think it will be about 20 pounds. It will take me a while to slow roast them in batches but surely this time I will have some leftover for the freezer. I will have a bit of summer in my freezer for the rest of the winter, or at least, for the rest of the month.