Spring has sprung here in the Hudson Valley, and no one is really believing it. Everyone is rubbing their eyes and wondering, is it really true?? Maple sugaring time is come and gone, and I hear tell of wild leeks, otherwise known as ramps, poking up out of the ground. I tell you, I missed the dirt. The smell of defrosting dirt is a lovely thing.
I just got back from a rejuvenating trip to southern Florida. I went with my son to visit my family for spring break. We swam in the ocean! We saw alligators! We walked, and we talked. It was just what I needed to make it through the tail end of winter. Coming home to temperatures above fifty degrees, the swelling buds of daffodils, and a garden with no snow in it has soothed my spirit. Now it is time to appraise the pantry, filled more with empty jars than full, and the freezer, which is getting lower every day. There is still bounty though, and some things need to be eaten. Like tomatoes. So many tomatoes!
One of my standbys of preserving the summer bounty is oven-roasted tomatoes. It very well may be yours, too, it’s so simple and so good and so versatile. I like the slow method that Food In Jars’ uses, but I tend to be impatient and roast them at 350 degrees for an hour or two. They end up being a little caramelized around the edges, but I like that. Remember how many tomatoes I had at the end of the season in the fall? A lot of them became oven-roasted tomatoes, bags and bags of them are in the freezer. The other day I saw a glimpse of a bottle of sun-dried tomato ketchup on my Instagram feed. And I thought: aha! I immediately defrosted a bag of these tomatoes, whizzed them up with some more olive oil and a few other goodies. I have been slathering it on my sourdough pan-fried toast for days now. I see this being a new constant companion–on pizza, pasta, burgers, turned into a salad dressing, etc. I knew roasting all those tomatoes was a good idea!
Roasted Tomato Spread
Oven-roasted tomatoes, however you do them, about a cup or two
Roughly 1/4 cup of olive oil
About a tablespoon of good red wine vinegar, I used my home brew
some salt and pepper
I kept mine plain, but any kind of dressing up with herbs and garlic would be great. Just put the roasted tomatoes (about a cup or two) into a food processor or Vitamix, add the olive oil and vinegar and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. For me, this was slightly chunky. This is all about your taste, so there are no set measurements. Add more olive oil if you want it thinner. I would keep the vinegar at a tablespoon, but by all means, taste, adjust and enjoy!