RECIPE: Tomato Essence

Here’s one to make ahead, and use in a variety of recipes as a quick, easy, and robust flavoring ingredient. Commercial sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil are often expensive, vary in quality, and don’t contribute enough flavor, but this one works well.

2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
1 cup water, or as needed

You may need two skillets, or a large heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt. Brush the bottom of each skillet or pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the tomatoes in the pan(s) and cook over medium-low heat until they release their juices. Off the heat, turn the tomatoes over gently and scatter the garlic, parsley, and sugar over them. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, return the pan(s) to the heat and slowly cook tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup warm water each time they dry out. Shake the pan gently from time to time, and turn the tomatoes over. After about 20-30 minutes and three or four additions of liquid, the tomatoes will begin to caramelize and brown around the edges. Scrape the bottom of the pan(s) to loosen the browned bits with a wooden spoon.

When the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked down and only a little liquid remains, remove them from the heat and place in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, allow to cool, and place in an airtight jar. The essence will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

No comments: