You say tomato, I say yum!
August 27, 2019 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I am about to come into a serious amount of tomatoes (beefsteak/field), like upwards of 40 pounds or more if I want. Lucky for me, I flipping love tomatoes. I'd like to make some dishes to stock up the freezer as well as some fresh recipes. Give me your ideas, please!

I will be making Julia Child's Provencal Tomato Sauce, but I'd love some other recipes/ideas. I will not be doing any canning/processing - just freezing. I am capable in the kitchen, and also have use of a tomato strainer/mill thingy.
posted by just_ducky to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I just finished eating a plate of this Tomato, Haricot Vert & Anchovy salad and highly recommend it. It'll use up a couple of pounds. We used a mix of beefsteak and black prince tomatoes, along with a pint of cherry tomatoes.
posted by burntflowers at 2:47 PM on August 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I would take a lot of them, peel, and freeze. Frozen tomatoes make far better salsa than canned, peeling is probably optional and depends on how thick the skins are. also,I am experiencing Tomato Envy. Cold Spring Maine, so my yield is poor.
posted by theora55 at 2:48 PM on August 27, 2019

Food bank for a 10 pound basket?
posted by Freedomboy at 2:56 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would cheat a little on processing -- roast a panful of 'em, THEN freeze the result. That stuff is gold.

We did find out in my family once that there is a definite laxative effect to the skins (discovered when we had a glut of cherry tomatoes). Your mileage may vary.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 3:10 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sauce sauce sauce. The Julia Child is great but if you want a really simple sauce, here is my solution for mass tomato obliteration:

3 ingredients:

- tomatoes (quartered if large; stems cut out if needed)

- basil (lots)

- olive oil (also lots. Don't use the fancy stuff)

Boil the shit outta this bastard. High heat, be not afraid. Start it covered so the tomatoes melt down; then take off the cover and stir. Add basil when tomatoes are melted, plus a little bit of fresh basil right at the end. Cook it wayyyyy down; stir as needed. A whole stockpot of tomatoes will cook down to about a quarter pot of sauce. You want a thick paste, oily enough to coat your noodles happily.

Don't season till the end when it's reduced right down; if you season at the beginning you'll overdo it. Even then, limit yourself to a little salt. Maybe a pinch of sugar if your tomatoes aren't sweet enough.

You can use this sauce on its own or add to other sauces, lasagne, etc.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:13 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just a tip on freezing tomatoes - cut an X in the skin on the bottom and freeze whole. No blanching, no peeling, I like to do quart freezer bags and store those in a gallon freezer bag to best insulate against icing and freezer burn. The skins slip off when they thaw.

Homemade tomato paste, 3 ways.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:23 PM on August 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

You might find the answers to my question from 2011 of interest. This year we're making sauce--lots and lots of sauce--along the same lines as Pallas Athena. The cherry tomatoes get roasted in olive oil and consumed immediately.
posted by libraryhead at 3:25 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just made some panzanella the other day with a coworker's surplus tomatoes. You can Google recipes, but basically toasted baguette chunks, tomato chunks, a few thin red onion slices, some mozzarella pearls, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Tossed in lots of olive oil and a touch of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Let it soak for about half an hour.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 3:50 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Your tomato strainer mill thingy interests me greatly, but I don't have one, so what I do, I wash them and put them whole as many as will fit into a bone dry stockpot with the burner on medium until the skins on the ones on the bottom start to crack and they start to release water. Then I turn it on high and put the lid on. When they've simmered long enough that the ones at the top are shrugging off their skins, turn off the heat and wait for them to cool down enough to touch, whereupon remove the skins and the fibrous cores. You can try to take the seeds out at this stage, too, and maybe with the strainer mill thingy it would be the work of a moment, but I don't because I don't have the patience; skinning and coring takes ages and makes a big mess, and the seeds aren't bitter enough to bug me: the finished sauce is so good it makes my eyes cross even with the seeds. I squish the skins in a sieve over the stockpot until I'm satisfied I've gotten off all possible pulp, then turn the burner on again but really low this time and simmer the tomatoes for the rest of the day, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced by about half. The next day, dice two average-sized onions or one massive one and saute it slowly in a bunch of olive oil. When it's nicely browned, add your meat, if you eat that, and brown 'til it's very dark, again slowly. Dump in a quarter cup of red wine and deglaze the pan. Pour that stuff into the tomato sauce and stir. Keep stirring and simmering for most of that day. For the last two or three hours, add a peeled garlic clove or a bay leaf every 15 or 20 minutes. Toward the end, throw in oregano, marjoram, and rosemary.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:59 PM on August 27, 2019

Tomato jam!

Tomatoes in quiche! (Recipe calls for grape tomatoes but any would work.)

Tomato Pie!
posted by Weeping_angel at 4:37 PM on August 27, 2019

I feel like if you accept 40 lbs, you’re probably somewhat familiar with making your own stock, with meat, veggies, or both.

One fun thing about tomatoes is they have a lot of umami flavor that is not as apparent when fresh, but really shines when cooked a long time and the volatile burn off and break down.

So make your stock with 1/3 tomatoes by weight, or freeze and do same. Your freezer is your friend here I think.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:41 PM on August 27, 2019

Sliced tomatoes + sliced fresh mozzarella + balsamic vinegar di modena (linked one is not expensive, but tasty) = omfg

Add fresh basil leaves if you're feeling fancy.
posted by pyro979 at 7:40 PM on August 27, 2019

(Nooo, don't put rosemary in it! IDK where that came from.)
posted by Don Pepino at 2:26 AM on August 28, 2019

Roasted tomatoes make amazing pizza sauce (I just plop them on the dough then top with cheese & desired toppings) or pasta sauce or tomato soup and freeze well.

Cut tomatoes in half or into thick slabs. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Whole cloves of garlic can be nestled between for extra yum. Roast until jammy, bubbling, and caramelizing. For an instant treat, spread one on a piece of sourdough bread. I typically freeze them in pint sized mason jars, but letting them cool then spatula-ing them into single layers in ziplocks also works. Make sure you scrape all the delicious juices and tomato-y oil into your jar or ziplock.

I recently made a fresh tomato soup from Tamar Adler's Something Old Something New and was surprised by how simple and delicious it was. You blend garlic, sherry or vinegar, and stale bread. Add tomatoes. Blend more. Add more bread and tomatoes and blend. Add lots of olive oil and blend. There's a neat point where you have this strange tomato-bread goop then the olive oil is added and bam! Tasty, creamy soup.
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:27 AM on August 28, 2019

Shakshuka, of course! Ideally with a generous helping of harissa, sauteed along with the onions and garlic.
posted by aquamvidam at 9:56 AM on August 28, 2019

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