I've been away in the back-country for work for the past 9 days, and on our return yesterday afternoon my workmate and i swung past the Woodend green grocery, as i wanted to check if they had cheap tomatoes. When i'd driven past a couple of weeks earlier i'd seen a sign for tomatoes at $3.99/kg, but they usually get cheaper than that, so i held off buying. When we drove up yesterday there were no signs advertising tomatoes, but i went in anyway, and was happy to find tomatoes at $1.99/kg. I always am a bit surprised at how early in the season you can buy cheap tomatoes, as my cherry tomato plants in my glasshouse are only just flowering, apart from one particularly early heirloom variety (called Tom Thumb, i think) which has some very small green fruit on it, as well as flowers.
Anyway, having remembered to check for cheap tomatoes at this seemingly ridiculously early time of year (it's not even summer!) i bought 5 kilos, and today have been busy making Annabel Langbein's Roast Tomato Sauce.
I try and make a few batches of this sauce each year, and freeze about 80g size amounts in multiple small containers as a pizza sauce (80g is enough for two pizzas), and approximately cup-sized containers for use as pizza sauce. Langbein also suggests using this sauce as a base for soup with stock and vegetables, in casseroles and pan sauces. She includes 2 red capsicums, cut into thin wedges in her sauce, but i have omitted them from the recipe, as i think the capsicums are wasted in such a "tomatoey" sauce. They probably add a bit of sweetness, but i've tried making this recipe with and without capsicums, and don't miss them when they are not used. The only other change i've made is that i have doubled the amount of rosemary used. I really like rosemary and have an ample supply, so tend to be generous in my use of it.
Today i had made my sauce and was typing up the recipe below when i suddenly realised i'd forgotten to add the onion to all three batches that i made. The sauce still tastes delicious, but i'd recommend including onion unless you find yourself with a batch of tomatoes that really need using, and no ready access to onions!
ROAST TOMATO SAUCE
From 'Eat Fresh' by Annabel Langbein
70 g tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1.3 - 1.5 kg tomatoes cut into small chunks
1 large onion cut into this wedges
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Puree together the first 9 ingredients to form a paste, and mix this evenly through the chopped tomatoes and onion.
Spread the tomato mix in a thin layer in a very large roasting dish, and bake for 1.5 hours or until starting to caramelise and shrivel.Serve chunky or puree if you want a smooth, deep red sauce (or part puree for a textured finish). Store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze in batches.