Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Slow-Cooker Heirloom Tomato Sauce

NOTE: This recipe works for any type of fresh tomatoes. If you don't have heirloom, choose your favorites and enjoy!

It’s that time of year: The garden is teeming with tomatoes, and this season I have an abundance of Cherokee purple—a variety as tasty as it is pretty. This delightful heirloom tomato has a purplish, coppery-red skin with a green circle around the top (or “shoulders”). The visual appeal of its outside carries over to the slightly sweet flesh inside, making the Cherokee purple (and its sister, the Cherokee red) one of the most delectable tomatoes to grow in your backyard garden.

Tomatoes for the Sauce
Cherokee Purple Inside
My usual M.O. with this tomato is to slice it, salt it, and serve it. Here, I sauced it. There’s hardly a more flavorful, inviting sauce than one made with fresh tomatoes slowly simmered for hours with only a little tomato paste for thickening, and sea salt. Time and love—what more do we need?

This recipe calls for three pounds of heirloom and a pound of conventional tomatoes cooked in a slow-cooker for six hours. You can easily double the recipe (with your favorite tomatoes) to make leftovers or sauce to freeze. Give the cooking time an extra couple hours.

Also check out Slow-Cooker Fresh Tomato Marinara with garlic, onion, and herbs. No matter the exact preparation you choose, the basic idea is the same: fresh tomatoes, few accompaniments, and plenty of time.

Makes 3-4 cups

  • 3 lbs Cherokee purple (or Cherokee red) tomatoes
  • 1 lb red tomatoes, large enough to peel easily
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (preferably Italian, double-concentrated)
  • sea salt
  1. Peel and cut the tomatoes into small chunks. (Do this over the pot of the slow-cooker to catch the juices.)
  2. Place the tomatoes in the slow-cooker and crush them with your fingers to break them up and release more juices. Add the tomato paste and season with salt. Stir well to combine. 
Peeled, Chopped, Crushed Tomatoes 
Tomato Paste Added
  1. Cook the sauce on low for 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning before serving.
Cooked Sauce
The sauce is ready to use now, or you can divide it into airtight containers and freeze for up to 6 months.

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