I was recently seduced by tomatoes. Bright-red plum tomatoes at their peak ripeness grabbed my attention at the Canal Road Farmers Market (which can be seen from Highway 400). I almost bought a bushel. Instead, a “small” basket of 60 tomatoes made the trip home. Plum tomatoes are great for cooking as they have a low water content and a meaty texture. The challenge was using them up before they spoiled.
A few ideas came to mind:
1) Homemade pasta sauce — in our house we can’t have enough. Saute tomatoes (deseeded and chopped) with onions and garlic in olive oil (approx. 1/2 onion and 2 cloves for every 8 tomatoes). Add a chopped, sweet potato to the mix and a bottle of passata (tomato puree — 1/2 bottle for every 8 tomatoes). You can add fresh or dried basil if you like. Simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens and the sweet potato is tender. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. The longer you cook the sauce, the richer the taste. Serve over pasta or use to make chili, lasagna or pizza.
2) Tangy tomato sauce — Growing up, this sauce would be served over rice and eaten with curry chicken. Saute 8-12 diced plum tomatoes with 1 chopped small onion (or 1/2 medium) in 2 tsp canola oil. Cook until onion softens. Add 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Cook until tomatoes are soft and mashable. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds (optional).
3) Roasted tomatoes — Slice tomatoes in half. Place cut side up in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in 400F oven for 30-45 minutes until soft and shrunken. These are great for freezing.
4) Chunky fresh salsa — Chop 2 cups of plum tomatoes (approx 8). Add 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 chopped green onion, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 clove minced garlic. Let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge to let the flavours infuse.
5) Tomato eggplant bake — Cut one eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Chop 6-8 plum tomatoes (note: the ratio of eggplant to tomato should be roughly 50:50). Place the eggplant and tomatoes in a shallow baking dish. In a bowl, mix 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tbs ground coriander, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Bake uncovered in 425F oven for 30-40 minutes until the eggplant is cooked through.
One last note: As foodies know, fresh tomatoes must not be refrigerated. Leave them on your counter to preserve their flavour and texture. To learn more about tomatoes, check out Foodland Ontario.