There’s nothing like a tomato fresh off the vine. The weekend farmer’s markets are bursting with heirloom varieties like Mountain Gold and traditional favorites like Big Boy. Your backyard garden may be overflowing with these red jewels, or perhaps a bag of tomatoes appears on your porch from your green-thumb neighbor. A sprinkle of kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil on sliced tomatoes are all you need for a satisfying summer appetizer. Or two slices of white bread and some mayonnaise for the quintessential Southern sandwich. A box of summer tomatoes can become tomato jam, marinara, or roasted tomato soup. The possibilities for culinary creations with summer tomatoes are endless.
Now…fast-forward to January, when all you have are those sad-looking, underripe greenhouse-grown orbs.
Save summer goodness to enjoy later by preserving your tomatoes. Roasting tomatoes concentrates the sweetness, and the addition of garlic, shallot, and thyme adds to the flavor and aroma that will fill your kitchen while the tomatoes are roasting. Make a few batches for freezing, and then come January, defrost and toss them with fresh pasta, stir them into risotto, or spread on top of some fresh-baked focaccia bread. Or, you can puree the tomatoes after roasting, if desired. Roasted tomato puree would be an easy and delicious base for pasta sauces or soups.
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