I have a hard and fast rule regarding the use of tomatoes in winter, and it goes like this: never, ever, ever, ever buy tomatoes in the wintertime. They are pale, tasteless shadows of their summer selves, and it’s just not worth it. So how do us tomato-lovers get through the long winter months waiting for our red and juicy friends to reappear in farmer’s markets and our mother’s gardens? There are WAYS, and here they are. First of all, cherry tomatoes are fine all year round. I have no idea why, but for some reason the brave little cherry tomato is sweet and perfect all year round. And easier to cut up. I love you, cherry tomatoes.
Second, many recipes (like the best recipe I’ve ever found for tomato sauce) will work just fine with canned tomatoes. If you can find the Muir Glen or San Marzano versions, you are golden. And last but not least, you can buy plum tomatoes. Out of season they will still taste very disappointing if you eat them raw…but if you roast them, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Especially if you give them a nice soak in some olive oil and garlic and rosemary first. (Come to think of it, pretty much anything would taste fabulous soaked in olive oil and garlic and rosemary first!)
Once they’ve been soaked, you’re going to roast them until they are soft and tender, and they will have also turned rich and flavorful. Now you can take some toasted bread and top them not only with these resurrected tomatoes, but also some prosciutto, some ricotta and a little bit of curly frisee lettuce. (And if you want this recipe to REALLY sing, take ten extra minutes and make your own ricotta…click here to find out how to do it. It’s so easy you won’t believe it.)
So! While we are waiting to get our summer tomatoes back, here’s the recipe to tide you over.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit