This week and next at the farmers’ & artisans’ market we’re offering samples of the many different varieties of tomatoes! Pick your favorites, grab a box full, and try this mouth watering recipe that brings out their unique flavors! The two key steps in this recipe are to remove the water-filled seed pockets (which helps to deepen the flavor by removing water weight), and roasting (which further removes moisture). This recipe comes (slightly altered) from Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 medium leek
- 1 small carrot
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 small bunch basil (about 1/4 pound)
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Cut out a cone at the stem end of the tomatoes to remove the core, and cut the tomatoes into quarters. If you have a grapefruit spoon or a strawberry topper, use it to remove about 50% of the water seed pockets. Toss with half the olive oil. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish and roast them, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to encourage even cooking. The tomatoes are cooked when the flesh is very soft and the skin separates easily from the flesh.
- Peel and slice the onion. Trim, wash, and dice the leek. Peel and dice the carrot. Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a stainless steel or other nonreactive pot (aluminum reacts with the acid in tomatoes and spoils the flavor). Add the vegetables and the garlic and cook the vegetables over medium heat until completely soft, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and the herbs. Simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the flavors come together, for 30 to 45 minutes. Pass the sauce through a food mill and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 quart.