How to use 5lbs fresh tomatoes?
The farmer's market had lovely little super-ripe tomatoes at 3lbs for a dollar this weekend, so I bought 6 pounds. I used up one pound making a tamale pie for dinner today, and that leaves 5lbs that MUST be dealt with tomorrow. But what to do with them? Storage space is very limited, but if I get enough good suggestions I can always go and get some more tomatoes while they're cheap...
Are they slicers or plums? Oven roasting is a good idea, as someone has mentioned. Oven drying is possible if they're plum-type. Slice in half, remove seeds, salt lightly; place in 200 degree oven on racks till dry but still pliable. Store in olive oil.
You can also puree and freeze--use as you would canned tomatos. Or run out and get Rick Bayless's salsa cookbook and make batches of salsa and freeze or can. He has recipes for small, medium, and large batches. Tomato soup is also a good idea (you can freeze some). Make fresh tomato juice.
Do an oven "sun dry." If small, halve them. Put them skin-side down on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil (don't waste your good extra-virgin olive), salt and a sprinkle of sugar. Pop them in the oven at the lowest temperature yours allows. (Mine's 175 -- that's good.)
Leave for at least 12 hours, until they're withered and leathery, but still retaining a bit of moisture.
This method is very good with styrofoam winter romas. It's dynamite with good tomatoes. They're like store-bought sun-dried tomatoes time ten. Chop them and toss with good olive oil over pasta, or put on top of flatbread. Or just eat them out of the Gladware. :)
How about oven roasting? In the Fall, when tomatoes are cheap, we make an oven roasted tomato sauce, which we freeze to enjoy over the winter. Basic premise is tomatoes, onions, and lots of garlic and fresh herbs tossed with olive oil, and roasted for hours. After thawing, we add some fresh olive oil and roast again to maximize the carmelization.
After years of making this, we now do three things with this sauce.
One, topping for pizza. Oh yea!
Two, Sauce for cheese ravioli
Three, topping for bruschetta as part of a mezze/antipasto plate.
The kid will just eat it in a spoon.
It can be served as a pasta sauce, though it is a little thick to coat the pasta evenly. You would need to use a little pasta water to thin it out.
Actually found the inspiration recipe on my computer:
• About 8 pounds, ripe tomatoes, any variety, cored and quartered
• 10 medium onions, peeled and quartered
• 10 cloves garlic, left whole
• 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1 cup chopped fresh herbs, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives or any combination
• About ¼ (quarter) cup good olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven at 450º. Gently toss every 30 minutes or so until the tomatoes and onion have started to brown evenly and you achieve a texture that you like. [I don't bother with chopping any of the garlic. I just throw several heads of garlic, cloves separated and de-papered, into the roasting pan.] I view this recipe as a ratio guide, and use basil and fresh oregano.