Tomatoes are on their way out for the year. But they are still plentiful in the market, so now is the time to stock up!
If you want to eat them fresh, buy from sellers that are still putting out slices to taste – otherwise you run the risk of getting a mealy one. But grab the value bags of tomatoes with abandon if you are making tomato paste or tomato sauce. Deborah Madison, in her farm-to-table cookbook Local Flavors, convinced me to make tomato sauce for the rest of the year, simply by sharing her trick to save room in the freezer: zip lock bags laid on the freezer floor freeze flat and thin, easy for storing AND thawing – you can just place the frozen bag in the same water you are bringing to a boil for pasta and before you know it you have spaghetti marinara.
The recipe itself is a cinch. No blanching, peeling, coring or seeding necessary. Just quarter the tomatoes and toss in a pot.
6-7 pounds of tomatoes, rinsed and quartered (about 2 large “apple” bags from Fred Wilklow’s Orchard)
6 Tbs fresh basil or marjoram (optional), chopped
4 Tbs olive oil
Throw the tomatoes and basil in the largest pot you own; cover and add medium heat. The tomatoes should begin releasing their juices immediately, but double-check to make sure the tomatoes don’t scorch. If they are still dry at the bottom after the first 4-5 minutes add a bit of water and cover again.
Let cook about 30 minutes until the tomatoes have completely broken down. Pass through a food press or blender, to make it a uniform consistency. Simmer with cover off, stirring occasionally for about 60 minutes, until sauce is desired thickness. Stir in olive oil and seasonings. Cool before portioning 1 cup allotments into ziplock freezer bags.