In the day or two before leaving on vacation I’m running around like crazy, and really, I wouldn’t mind a walk in the park. I’ll be in *Desolation Sound, maybe kayaking, maybe swimming or tide pooling as this post is published, but in the meantime I have all these tomatoes on the vine that need attention and a post to write before leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
I had a couple of those pull your hair out moments when you wonder if putting the vacation together is even worth it. (Oh, it so is.) A pile of tasks and I wanted to create an efficient – aka, get it done in a hurry – post that could be published in my absence, something that would be worthwhile, but take just a minute to write. Voilà. Roasted tomato sauce, since the sauce-making itself also meets the ‘get it done in a hurry’ criteria. I tripped upon this method and it may be the best sauce yet, both for its lusciousness and ease.
Tomatoes continue to flourish in the heat of late summer, and I don’t want to waste a single one. Pressed for time, I roasted a pile of tomatoes a few weeks ago, put them in empty yogurt containers and then the freezer. Quick and easy. Next time I roasted tomatoes I wondered what I’d get if I pureed them with an immersion blender after roasting. Seeds and skin almost disappeared, and tomatoes were transformed into a smooth silky sauce with the richness of roasting at its heart. Just unbelievably delicious, this is about as easy as it gets if you want to preserve tomatoes as sauce.
This is a reposting of one of our Top Twenty seasonal recipes; the vacation too, from the past, but also worth repeating.
If you don’t have them in the backyard, buy a bunch of tomato ‘seconds’ at the farmers market.
Late Summer’s Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe
Fresh tomatoes, amount is variable, but not more than a single layer on the baking sheet, any color, slightly under- or over-ripe are OK too.
Ingredients: Cut tomatoes into large bite-sized chunks/ 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, chopped/ Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste/ Parchment paper to cover the baking sheet.
Juiciness develops during roasting so use a shallow pan with an edge.
Directions: Place tomatoes on parchment-lined shallow baking pan, sprinkle liberally with olive oil and chopped garlic, salt & pepper/ Roast at 425º for 30-40 minutes – tomatoes should begin to char, liquid reduce/ Remove from oven, and after a few minutes, carefully gather short edges of parchment (creating a sort of funnel), and pour tomatoes and all drippings into a large bowl.
Cool a bit and process in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth or to desired consistency/ It will be thick and gorgeous – liquid can be added later to thin sauce as needed/ Freeze, can, or use immediately. I roasted two batches, two baking pans full, which yielded a little more than 2 quarts of sauce that’s imbued with the flavors of garlic and olive oil, salt & pepper.
There’s just a hint of seed and skin in the background. See what you think. Run it through a sieve before freezing to eliminate all of that. I happen to like it and think the pureed seeds and skin are healthy background noise. * 8/2015 update: Run blended roasted tomatoes through a fine sieve as a final step. Takes just a few minutes and eliminates hundreds of seeds.
I added a 1/2 cup of milk to a cup of this sauce the other day, reheated it and had the most amazing bowl of tomato soup. I thought I’d died and gone to, well, Desolation Sound. How sweet it is. From this base there’s pizza sauce, marinara, soup, pasta dishes every which way . . . Freeze in quart containers or process in canning jars and put them in the pantry.
Enjoy the waning days of summer – it will be autumn soon.
*Desolation Sound – if this is desolation then bring it on! Captain Vancouver, possibly manic depressive goes the story, was in a deep depression when he ‘discovered’ and named the Sound. On the coastline of British Columbia, about 210 miles north of Seattle, and maybe 100 miles north of Vancouver, B.C., it’s spectacular, somewhat isolated, certainly not desolate. We’re grateful to be here.