Thursday, October 01, 2009
Saving It For Later, Revisited
Remember what I said earlier this month about roasting tomatoes to make into sauce, save it for later, blah blah blah? Forget it. Erase it from your memory.
Because I've found the epitome, the apex, the best-and-highest use of in-season tomatoes ever. Something so good you'll go to the nearest farmers' market and buy buckets of them just to know it'll be sitting in your freezer waiting for you to pull it out the next time you need sauce or, as my neighbor Susana did recently, you want to make a killer roasted tomato soup.
Once again, my brother provided the inspiration when he posted that he was sitting at his wine shop working while tomatoes roasted on the grill outside. Of course, I had to try it for myself and see if it was better than my own oven-roasted (no, really, forget I said that) version. And dang if he wasn't right again. It was even simpler. And, believe me, ten times more flavorful.
Remember that, when you find yourself standing at your favorite farmers' table and begging for his tomatoes, I warned you.
Roasted Grilled Tomato Sauce
Take several pounds of tomatoes (I can easily do at least 4 lbs. at once on our 22" Weber) and slice larger ones in quarters, smaller ones in half.
Build a fire or light charcoal. You can also soak hickory or mesquite, as well as rosemary branches, if you want, for the extra flavor. While the coals are heating up, top the grilling rack with heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimping the edge to leave a 1" gap all around. Poke a few holes in it with a grilling fork to allow more smoke to penetrate.
When coals are white hot, spread in single layer. Top with soaked wood and rosemary branches, if desired. Place tomatoes skin-side down on the aluminum foil-covered rack, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Place over coals, cover and cook for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure coals haven't burned out. Add more charcoal as necessary.
Remove tomatoes by spooning them off into a large mixing bowl. Most of the skins will be left on the foil, but don't worry about scraping some blackened skins into the bowl. Allow to cool slightly and purée in food processor in batches. Cool completely, then scoop into quart freezer bags and freeze.