26 Aug '12, 12pm
Two ways to concentrate and save tomatoes
This homemade tomato paste, though … this is magnificent stuff. Once you’ve concentrated three pounds of fresh, sweet, peak-summer tomatoes down to about a cup, you have a texture like cool butter and flavor that makes you feel like your brain might short-circuit: It’s tomato-y, sure, but it’s so tomato-y that it threatens to reform your idea of what a tomato tastes like altogether. The long, slow cooking simmers off all the water, making its flavor vibrate with intensity. But the cooking also starts to caramelize some of the sugars, giving its sweetness a darker, mysterious edge, and since I make it with some olive oil, the paste emulsifies a little to give a rich, round finish. Basically, it becomes a secret weapon for instant deliciousness — drop a spoonful in any sauce, any soup, sauté, salad dressing, or just smear it on something.