Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce (again)

I had not intended to spend this afternoon making roasted tomato sauce; but here it goes.

When I posted my most recent eats story (Grilled Whole Salmon) I got a couple of nice comments on Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce written way back in July 2011. (Hey, heirloom tomatoes are in season this time every year.) We brought many jars of similar sauce when we moved from San Francisco to Reno, but they’re all gone now. (YUM)

That was on my mind when shopping at the Farmer’s Market. The heirloom tomatoes didn’t look very good, but I got enough of those and some Early Girls to maybe make a test sauce. It turns out a couple of the heirlooms went bad by Monday and I was a bit shy of a full dish, so I went out and got a sleeve of Kumato at Scolari’s. (Eric introduced us to this amazing hybrid tomato on his recent visit.)

tomatoes — including a couple Kumato — fit their roasting dish

During all this unplanned thinking and motion, I decided to make the sauce on the Big Green Egg (EGG). Perfect for roasting: 40 minutes at 400 degrees. And not only that… I can throw in a barrel stave smoker stick.

So, here’s what I did…
As soon as I decided on the EGG, and before my trip to the store, I got out a wine barrel stave smoker stick and put it in a baking dish to soak.

I got out the roasting dish I would use and put my tomatoes in to see what fit. I had about 4 pounds and they fit nicely. Knowing they fit, I washed and cored the tomatoes.

Light the charcoal fire in the EGG.

Meanwhile, add to the tomatoes in the roasting dish:

15 pitted Mediterranean-style black olives
15 pitted green olives
1 clove garlic, minced
15 basil leaves, torn in shreds
Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds

Drizzle the vegetables with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.

When the fire is ready, throw in the soaked barrel stave, place the Platesetter in the EGG, legs up and place the porcelain rack on the Platesetter legs. Put your roasting dish of tomatoes and stuff on the rack. Close the EGG and open all vents. Bring to a temperature of 400°F and roast until the tomatoes are soft, and collapsing, about 40 minutes.

ready to go in the EGG with the Platesetter in position, porcelain grate sitting on its upturned legs

NOTE: This arrangement of EGG equipment acts as a convection oven, the Platesetter shielding your dish from direct heat while allowing heat — and smoke in this case — to constantly circulate inside the EGG.

tomatoes bubbly and collapsed

tomatoes rest — note that the smoke has coated the roasting dish… that’s a bitch to get off… next time maybe a disposable roasting pan would work.

When the tomatoes are ready, let them rest a few minutes while you heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a wide skillet [green Le Creuset] over medium heat and sauté 1/4 cup minced shallots until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

transfer tomatoes to pot

Add the entire tomato mixture and 1 1/2 cups dry white wine. Season with about 1 1/2 tsp salt & pepper mix. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are thickened and the flavors blended, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool somewhat. Run the sauce through your food mill, using the disk with small holes to remove the tomato seeds and bits of skin. Add salt and pepper to taste.

tomatoes become tomato sauce in the food mill

pot is empty, food mill is used and sauce is sauce

Georgianna Brennan Note from original recipe: This sauce has a slightly caramelized flavor, with a hint of tartness from the olives. Its color depends upon the tomatoes you choose, although I usually prepare this with a mixture of the biggest, juiciest heirlooms from my garden, and the resulting color is a shade of darkish yellow.

second batch of tomatoes… this time about 6 pounds, all heirloom

Cooked again 9.14 — 6 pounds heirloom tomatoes from that “CA Peaches and melons place” at farmers market. When I put the tomatoes on the stove to reduce. I still had plenty of fire in the EGG, so meanwhile I grilled Steelhead Trout with the leftover fire. That was good. [The trout didn’t experience direct heat, but rather roasted in the “convection oven arrangement”]. It was dark by now, but I still had fire, so I put the pot back in the EGG to further reduce the sauce. Took longer than a Ken Burns doc, but came out looking great. Took off EGG. Stuck in fridge about midnight. Next morning, warmed and put through food mill. Yield, about 7 cups sauce.
NOTES: With this batch, I used mostly red wine and some white, used LO grilled red onions instead of shallots.

ATE a test batch of sauce on Somen noodles for lunch. DIS is good.

2 thoughts on “Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce (again)

  1. Sounds pretty impressive. Looks scrumptious.


  2. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.


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