To skin or not to skin. That is the question which cooks are poised to ponder when considering whether to blanch and skin their fresh summer tomatoes or forgo the process, as easy as it is, in favor of ever more leisure in their summer dishes.
Although it used to be a given with me to remove tomato skins, I learned, out of sheer sloth, that cherry tomatoes, with their thin skins and small seed quantity, make for a great, thick slush of flavor when very slowly simmered in an ample amount of olive oil.
The removal of tomato skins has always been at the discretion of the cook and personal taste. While sheets of thick skins aren't quite palatable, the result of tiny fruit yields a sauce more like paste with a texture that is nary distinguishable when building a meal of distinctively shaped pasta topped with shredded Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is ideal for those big hauls of little red baubles which you've collected at your markets but didn't get a chance to fuss with. It is likely that they are a little passed their prime in terms of aesthetics for salads, but their slightly wrinkled skins do not impact their use in sauces. Greater issue would be taken at bruises or outright decay, for which the compost bin is the only answer.
This recipe can be as uncomplicated as the joining of just two ingredients, or as embellished with herbs and other seasonings as you choose.
Summer cooking is meant to keep you out of that dreadfully hot kitchen as much as possible, so put the burner on the lowest flicker of flame, and kick your feet up while dinner virtually cooks itself.
Easy Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce - My own recipe
Makes 2 Cups (Recipe can easily be doubled.)
2 pounds cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stem ends nicked out with sharp knife
1/3 cup olive oil
Optional extras (any or all):
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, rosemary and/or 1 bay leaf
1/3 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cut tomatoes in half cross or lengthwise. Warm oil over low heat in large, preferably non-stick skillet until it shimmers and thins (about 5 seconds). If you are using garlic and/or herbs, stir into oil right before evenly adding tomatoes. Increase heat to medium and bring to boil. If you truly want to remove the skins, now is the time to do it before the sauce breaks down and thickens. Fork tines are best to pull them off.
Reduce heat to very low, periodically stirring, until most of liquid has evaporated. This will take time; allow at least 45 minutes. The volume will be reduced by two-thirds. Although the tomatoes will break down considerably, if there are any knots, they can be pressed out easily with a potato masher. Season with salt and/or black pepper if desired. Serve immediately over very hot, well-shaped pasta, such as rotini or radiatore. ~
This is my contribution to Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging #346, which is being hosted by me this week. To participate, follow the # 346 link for full details on Cook Almost Anything, Haalo's stylish and prolific blog.
Thanks to Haalo for allowing me the easy fun of hosting WHB for many different editions throughout the years. I will have my round-up online Monday, August 13, New York time.
I look forward to your creative, talented, and delicious recipes.