ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

And the Winning Tomato Is....!

I don’t fess-up to this very often, but being a food-writer really has its perks. This was definitely one of them. I got to squeeze, smell and taste some seriously stellar tomatoes. That big boy up top was an entry in the heaviest category at the 24th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Festival where I was judging.  (The actual winner in that category was a gnarly 3.23 pound Striped German grown by farmer Jim Ward.

I love their names almost as much as I love eating them – Black Prince, Striped Germans, Big Zak, Supersweets and Green Zebras. They sound like million-dollar racehorses, and for some local Massachusetts farmers, the bragging rights are nearly as good.

But here in New England, the weather’s been fickle. By now, we’d normally be up to our elbows in flavor packed tomatoes, but it’s been too cool and wet. Farmers I’ve spoken with say there are plenty growing on the vines, but they’re just late to ripen, or worse, are suffering cracks from too much rain. I’m just hoping that this week’s forcast of sun means I’ll be doing some canning by Sunday. If not, I’ve got a couple of recipes on the following page worth trying from Jamie Bissonnette, chef de cuisine at KO Prime here in Boston. 
Clare Leschin-Hoar

Heirlooms Romesco Sauce 
Serves 6-8
1  Spanish onion, julienned
4  garlic cloves, crushed
1  red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3  dried red jalapenos, chopped seeds intact
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, chopped seeds and skin intact
3/4 C  Marcona almonds, toasted
1 C Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1/3 C Spanish cabernet wine vinegar
Espelette pepper to taste

Cook onions in 1 cup olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic, and cook until tender.  Add peppers, and cover with a lid.  Cook the peppers completely tender, then add the tomatoes.  Stew for 45 minute on low heat with a lid.  Add almonds, cook 10 minutes.  Puree in blender, adding the remaining olive oil. Season with Espelette and cabernet vinegar to taste.  This sauce can be served hot, cold, or room temperature. (Jamie says it’s especially good over striped bass.)

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
Serves 2-4
10 lbs heirloom tomatoes (or plum tomatoes), cut into quarters
6  shallots, peeled and sliced thin
3  garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 C  chicken or vegetable stock
1 C  extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
10  basil leaves (Thai basil or regular basil)
1  fresh bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme

Salt the tomatoes and let sit in a deep roasting pan for 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients and cover tightly (air tight with plastic wrap then tin foil). Place pan in pre-heated 220 degree oven for 2 hours. Remove top, and puree in a blender until smooth. Pass through a chinois and season with salt as needed. Serve cold or hot