Food on Friday: Attack of the killer tomatoes

By Julia Westhoff

Every year Jay (the family gardener) warns me to be prepared for an overabundance of tomatoes. And every year we get about 10 tomatoes. This year, however, the heat and a fancy new watering system have proven him right. Now the pressure is on me (the family cook) to use up these amazing creatures in the most delicious and efficient way possible.

We started with the usual suspects. BLTs, bruschetta, caprese salad, numerous pastas, and salsa have shown up nearly daily. But I’ve been spending the bulk of my hours in the kitchen making dishes to freeze. I’ve had some great success with the following dishes, which I look forward to trotting out all fall and winter long. Recipes are after the jump.

Roasted tomato soup.

Cheese And Tomato Quiche
Note: I pulled this out 10 minutes early, let it cool, and popped it in the freezer. When it comes time to serve it, I’ll defrost it full and put it back in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese PLUS”PLUS” means this ingredient in
addition to the one on the next line, often with divided uses
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9-inch size) unbaked pie shell

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomato; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover; cook for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk, Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, dill weed and salt; mix well. Stir in onion mixture. Pour into pie shell. Top with the sliced tomatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 55 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Roasted Tomato Soup
From Tyler Florence
Note: I left out the cream and this soup is still amazingly rich and tasty.

2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and
plum tomatoes)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30minutes, or until caramelized.

Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot (set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy cream.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
From Eating Well

4 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped garlic, (about 2 heads)
4 cups diced onions, (3-4 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, core the tomatoes and score a small X into the flesh on the bottom.

Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, in batches, until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit in the water for 1 minute before removing.

Place a sieve over a bowl; working over it, peel the tomatoes using a paring knife, and let the skins fall into the sieve.

Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds with a hooked finger, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press on the seeds and skins to extract any extra juice. Coarsely chop the peeled tomatoes and set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions and salt, stir to coat, cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning, until soft and turning golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the tomato paste is beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan, 2 to 4 minutes.

Pour in wine and vinegar; bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits with a spoon. Cook until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and any juice; return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat; stir in basil and pepper. Transfer the sauce, in batches, to a blender or food processor. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Process until desired consistency. For a smooth sauce, puree it all; for a chunky sauce, puree just half and mix it back into the rest of the sauce.