I think most of you have gotten the impression that I love tomatoes! You are absolutely correct. I really feel that fresh summer tomatoes are one of the sweetest, juiciest, most flavorful foods on the planet. Best thing about tomatoes? They are in an overabundance this time of year.
While shopping the farmers’ market this past weekend, my hubby and I stumbled upon a great deal on a half-bushel of summer’s best. Didn’t take to much thought to decide to take them home with us.
What to do with that many tomatoes? Make fresh sauce….or is it gravy? Whatever you prefer to call it, the taste of this fresh recipe will make you never want to eat it from a store-bought bottle again! For the sake of easy reading, I will call it sauce throughout this post.
I will not deceive you, this takes a lot of work! In the end, it absolutely is worth it. You will have enough for dinner, and to freeze for six or so more dinners!
Place a large stock pot of water on the stovetop over high heat to bring to a boil. Salt the water well. I used my large pasta pot with the colander insert. This makes straining the tomatoes easier.
Next, peel a head of garlic. Yes, an entire head. Not a clove. Cut one onion, one medium carrot and one celery stalk into quarters. All of this goes into the food processor. Pulse until minced.
Place a large stock pot on the stovetop over medium heat. In two turns of good extra virgin olive oil, saute the veggies until softened and fragrant.
Meanwhile, clean all the tomatoes. I know a half-bushel seems like a ridiculous amount of tomatoes, but it really isn’t once you cook them down. This seems like a good place to mention that these tomatoes do not need to be perfect. This is a good use for all those mangled tomatoes you aren’t sure what else to do with.
Once clean, cut an “X” into the bottom of all the tomatoes. This will help with peeling them. When the water comes to a boil, carefully place the tomatoes into the water and boil for one minute. I had to do this in batches.
Immediately get the tomatoes into an ice bath. I used my stainless steel kitchen sink for this. Most of the tomatoes fit all at once.
Next, get to peeling. This is where that “X” comes in handy. Starting there, the skin will peel right off.
Once peeled, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze to remove the seeds. Reserve the juice, if your sauce begins to get to thick you can add it in. Alternately,if you don’t need it in the sauce, it makes for tasty drinking.
Once seeded, the tomatoes join the other veggies in the stock pot. Simmer forty-five to sixty minutes to develop flavor and allow the tomatoes to release their juices.
At this point, you can do one of two things. Either, get out your immersion blender and puree until you reach the desired consistency or smash with a potato masher. I prefer the immersion blender, but do what works for you. I know some people are cringing at the thought of taking an immersion blender to the tomatoes. Skip this step if you prefer.
Season to taste. I use sea salt, fresh ground mixed peppercorns, basil, oregano, and a little but of red pepper flakes. Switch up the seasonings however you like.
All that’s left is to enjoy in your favorite dishes. The first night, we had it over gnocchi. Then we froze the rest.
There really is no pre-made sauce out there that can compare to the fresh tomato taste you get in this recipe! Plus, you get to personalize it however you want!