There are few things that make me happier come a frigid grey day in February than to go to my downstairs freezer and pull out a Zip-Lock freezer bag filled with a vermilion sauce made of sweet late summer tomatoes. Plop in pan on a slow simmer while the pasta water is boiling and you can practically feel the sun on your skin and hear the sounds of kids jumping from a dock.
Yes, the end of summer is a busy time of year what with trying to squeeze out the last few days of unscheduled fun while also gearing up for the onslaught of September responsibilities. But do find time to make a vat of tomato sauce with the crazy amount of tomatoes at the market right now.
Talk to the farmers at the market about buying bruised tomatoes from them or ordering large quantities in advance. Then, put on some Aretha Franklin and commit an entire afternoon to making sauce. You’ll be so glad you did come winter and the kids come home from college looking for homespun cooking. Never done this before? Check out this tutorial from thekitchn.com
Save a few tomatoes for Tomates á la Provencale. A ridiculously easy side dish that elevates everything you serve it with. Halve your tomatoes and set them in a baking dish. Take a fork and gently massage the membrane of each tomato half, then sprinkle each with fresh garlic, fresh minced parsley, thyme or mint, salt and pepper, Kontoulis olive oil, some bread crumbs and bake for about 20-30 minutes at 375F. You can choose to add some grated Parmesan or gruyere for last few minutes of cooking or not. This cute Julia Child video offers a slightly more elaborate version of this popular summer dish which tastes particularly great with lamb or pork chops on the grill.
Calcutta Kitchen is here on Saturday with her exotic simmer sauces equally suited for Letterbox chicken breasts or hake fillets from Pura Vida.
This week, Laurel’s Nut Butter is back with her eclectic array of nut butters – perfect for the local apples coming to market.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)