I can assume some of y’all out there are begging people to take your tomatoes.
(And you will do the same with zucchini and squash…we all know how it goes.)
I actually think this is a good thing. Obviously, when they get put to good use. When it comes to zucchini, people say they just “can’t do it”. Which is just sort of dramatic, considering it’s one of the most versatile veggies out there!. You can literally put it in everything and sort of come out on top.
But by all means, do not call them planks, okay? Any time I read zucchini planks on a menu, I imagine the chef in charge building their menu off a random Pinterest feed.
Which is okay! Okay…sorry. I know you love those hot dogs with the noodles pushed through. Don’t be ashamed!
Own that hotdog pasta, yo!
Back to the point.
Yes, you can can. That’s an obvious. Most of you are already filled to the brim. Or maybe it’s just a lot of work. Let’s be honest, unless we need it to survive, or Instagram it because it is beautiful (I am guilty of this…), there are other ways to deal with your harvest.
Dry them. Lay em’ out on a raised cooling rack. Toss some salt on them to help draw out some of the water. If you have a dehydrator, do that thing. If not, put your oven on its lowest setting and let them babies dry out. Use them later for salads, tapenade, whatever it is your big heart desires.
Lately, I’ve been on a tomato gravy kick. (Okay, granted it’s been almost two years since I’ve written about tomatoes, but I serve it at work, so I’ve been inspired again.)
So here’s what you need to do:
Get a pot of water boiling. Grab about 5-6 large ripe tomatoes.
Take a small knife and dig out a little crater in the top center. Have an ice bath ready, and drop them tomatoes in the pot. (One by one if you need to, to keep the water at a rolling boil.)
Cook them for about 30-40 seconds. You’ll start to see the skin fraying out a bit. This is what you want. Toss them in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Peel tomatoes. Take off the four sides with a sharp knife. De-seed em’. Basically removing that seedy-jelly matter. And finally, chop into small pieces.
In a sauce pan, toss in about 3-4 tablespoons of the fat of your choosing. I like using butter and bacon fat. If you have it, why not use both?
Get the fat going on a medium-high heat. Toss in a chopped, somewhat small yellow onion. Let that cook till translucent.
Make a roux. Add about 3-4 tablespoons flour. Cook for another minute or two, stirring often.
(And honestly, you can leave out the flour. It’s a thickener and will help, but most tomato gravy I grew up with was tomatoes cooked down in a pan, probably with butter or margarine. I know them Southerners love their margarine.)
Add in your tomatoes. Stir. Make sure they don’t stick to the pan. Add a cup and a half or so of water, vegetable or chicken stock. Obviously, your stock is the better option here, so in a pinch, just use good ole’ H20.
Keep stirring. It’ll thicken a bit. Reduce a bit. Add appropriate salt and pepper. Taste, taste, taste. The salt will also draw out a bit more liquid from the tomatoes, so keep that in mind.
Add a sprig of fresh thyme and take it off the heat. Stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream. Oh-la-lah.
You can leave this part out too, but why?
It really does help balance out the acidity. So at least give it a try, okay?
And now you’re done! Obviously, it will be better if you leave it over night to sit and get all magical, but really, just spoon it over some biscuits.
Lately, I’ve been putting it over cornbread (as seen in the picture.) Add an egg and you’re in good shape to make some new friends.
(and don’t wear white.)