I waited ALL summer for the tomatoes to ripen in my Dad’s garden, but because of the cool August weather they were really testing my patience (I definitely ate some crunchy tomatoes out of desperation). Last weekend I was finally rewarded and knowing that I would not be back for several weeks, I went a little overboard – I could not live with myself knowing I had left any tomato behind. The fact that just touching a tomato vine makes me itch like a complete lunatic, would not deter me.
I came back with about 20lbs of tomatoes and several bunches of basil. So while these recipes came out of necessity, they might be the two best I have made all summer. The basil dressing is incredibly fresh and light, but the avocado gives it some decadent creaminess. It is heaven in a bowl.
Cooking the tomatoes slowly intensifies their flavor so they become bursts of tomatoey deliciousness. Use them with the basil dressing on crusty bread for an appetizer, add them to salad, toss with pasta, or serve as a side dish.
Get ready for my first video!! My filming skills are quite limited (read: non-existent) so don’t judge too harshly – I will have to practice before my next video appearance – it could be a while before I show my face or add audio, lets not rush into things.
I learned this trick in my restaurant days when I saw a line cook doing it with grapes. It really works and makes cutting all those tomatoes so much easier! Use your bread knife for this (or a very sharp carving knife) and two deli container lids.
If you are a New Yorker, I just recently discovered Takahachi Bakery, which makes the most incredible sandwich bread (pictured above and below). I have been ordering sushi from Takahachi for years but never knew about the bakery – they make traditional French breads and pastries in addition to really interesting Japanese creations like Matcha Ciabatta rolls. I have yet to try any of these but given how often I have been in the past two weeks, it won’t be long before I am hooked on those too!
Whether you can get your hands on this bread or not, put the tomatoes and basil dressing on any sandwich. These BLTs were out of this world.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt (8oz)
- 1 avocado
- 1 (packed) cup fresh basil, washed and dried
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp kosher salt (1/2 tsp fine salt)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Pulse garlic in food processor until it is minced.
- Add everything else to the food processor and blend until smooth.
- Oil (Olive oil or a flavorless oil such as Safflower or Grapeseed)
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 250˚F. Cut all of the tomatoes in half, toss with enough oil just to coat and season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the tomato halves on a baking sheet cut side up.
- Roast according to times below, until they look shriveled and dry at the edges – you really can’t go wrong here so don’t over think it. No matter what, you will still get deliciously roasted tomatoes.
- To Freeze: These keep for up to 6 months in the freezer! I would recommend freezing them spread out (on the sheet pan you cooked them on is perfect) and then putting them into a container or plastic bag - this way they do not become one solid mass that you have to use all at once and takes forever to thaw. I prefer to portion mine out into a couple of baggies (the number depends on how much you have made) to help me not use them all at once.
Small (cherry, grape, etc) – 2-3hrs at 250˚F
Medium (plum, etc) – 3-4hrs at 250˚F
Large (beefsteak, porterhouse, etc) – 4-6hrs at 250˚F