Food: Susan Semenak shows off her tomato recipes
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012 1:15PM EDT
This has been a fabulous summer for tomatoes. The endless sunshine has produced juicy, sweet fruit that is bursting with flavour.
There’s nothing like a ripe summer tomato, straight off the vine, with a little salt, eaten just like that.
But now that the cooler weather is upon us, there are myriad ways to coax new tastes and textures out of the last of the season’s tomatoes. Roast them, simmer them long and slow into a sweet and spicy jam, or purée them with hot spices and roasted peppers into a soul-warming fall soup.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Here’s a tomato soup with deep, smoky flavour. Serve warm with home-made croutons and a dollop of crème fraiche, if you like. You can roast the tomatoes ahead of time and keep them refrigerated. They are also great on sandwiches or as a pizza topping.
For the roasted tomatoes:
¼ cup (50 ml) olive oil
5 pounds (about 4 cups) plum tomatoes, washed, quartered and cored
1 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
12 sprigs fresh thyme
For the soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably home-made
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
To roast tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
Pour half the oil into a large roaster or rimmed baking tray. Lay tomato quarters in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Pull the thyme leaves off the sprigs and scatter them over the tomatoes. Add remaining oil, tossing to coat the tomatoes. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour on bottom rack of oven, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes are soft and slightly charred and the juices have mostly evaporated, leaving a richly coloured and deeply flavoured sauce.
To make soup: Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté onion until translucent. Stir in garlic, paprika and cumin and cook a minute or two, just until fragrant. Add stock and parsley and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a food processor or using a handheld blender, purée until smooth (work in batches if necessary.) Add extra stock, if necessary. Serve warm in bowls, garnished with crème fraiche or sour cream.
Tomato Ginger Jam
This is a sweet and spicy condiment, halfway between chutney and jam, that is great on sandwiches or alongside roast pork, or served with a wedge of cheddar cheese. It keeps in the fridge, in a well-sealed jar, for several weeks.
4 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes
¼ cup finely grated ginger
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 one-inch stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 dried hot chili pepper
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until mixture is reduced and jam-like in consistency. (Be sure to stir regularly, especially towards end of cooking time, to prevent scorching.)
Remove bay leaves and chili pepper and discard.
While still hot, spoon into sterilized jars, leaving a quarter-inch space at the top. Seal tightly and store in the refrigerator.