End of the Season Tomato Sauce

Green Tomatoes

By Diane Sheya


It’s been very cold at night lately and my tomato plants still have lots of green tomatoes left.  I began picking the tomatoes that had a bit of color on them, put them on a sheet pan and stored them in my basement where it’s dark and cooler for about a week.  Each day I checked on them-they were getting riper and riper until almost every one had ripened to a luscious shade of dark red and purple-red. 

I’ve already made a year’s supply of marinara and 14 pints of salsa-what should I do with all these tomatoes now?  One of my favorite cookbook authors Sally Schneider has a wonderful cookbook called “The Improvisational Cook”.  I love this cookbook because it not only gives you recipes she makes you think about what else you can create with basic ingredients.  Her chapter on Slow-Roasted Tomatoes is packed with so many ideas.

As she describes in her cookbook “Slow-roasted tomatoes have become ubiquitous of late because they are so easy to make and yield such fabulous results: creamy and melting, with a concentrated, slightly caramelized tomato flavor”.

Roasting TomatoesI preheated my oven to 325 degrees F, sliced the smaller tomatoes in half lengthwise through the stem and the larger ones quartered through the stem.  I placed them on a baking sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them, tossed them by hand to make sure they were well coated, sprinkled them with sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  In the oven they went for about 3 hours.

As I checked on them, some of the smaller tomatoes were ready to be taken out-the liquid had evaporated and they had begun to brown.  The smell was incredible.

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As I peeled the skin off each slice the meat of the tomatoes was soft and had an amazingly rich tomato taste.  I put all that tomato meat into a bowl.photo 2 (1)

I started to put the baking pans into the sink and noticed there was a lot of caramelization left on the three pans.  Not wanting to throw that flavor away, I put the pan on the stove and heated it up again.  Adding a bit of red wine to deglaze the pan and then reduced the wine to concentrate that flavor.  I added it into the bowl of tomato sauce and stirred it in.  This increased the already amazing flavor, taking the flavor to another level.  Rich essence of tomato!

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I placed my tomato sauce in containers, labeled and dated them and put them in the freezer.  I can’t wait to use it next time I have need of a base for a homemade pizza, lasagne or adding it to a soup, stew, braise or even a sandwich.

Next time, I think I’ll add some garlic as those tomatoes are roasting and maybe some herbs or spices!

Roasting Tomatoes

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