This past Sunday morning was spent like most… at the local Farmer’s Market. Now, any self-respecting Sacramentan knows of the fantastic market under the freeway, but I actually prefer to start my morning at the ‘rogue’ market, located a few blocks away on Broadway & 5th. Step into this tiny, crowded outdoor market and you are instantly transported to another country… exotic ingredients, tofu stands, sometimes even traditional music and dancing in the street. I usually prefer going to this market solo because you really do have to be in the right mind set; you can’t be upset if someone bumps into you and you need to be prepared to fight your way through the crowds. I love it… some people think it’s a claustrophobic nightmare. It’s bustling with people of mostly Asian or Indian ethnicity, pushing their way from one stand to the next, haggling vendors, and all looking for those staple ingredients: tiny hot peppers, bitter melon, eggplant of all sizes, garlic chives and of course, tomatoes. Piles and piles of perfectly round, ripe cherry tomatoes at every turn.
Tomatoes are my favorite summer produce… and I came that day knowing it was probably the last week of good ones. Apparently so did everyone else. The market was even MORE packed than normal, but I was on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. I went to my favorite stand in the back corner. As I surveyed the other produce, a man came up and began to haggle the girl about buying all the tomatoes for a much reduced price. ‘Dude, they’re FIFTY CENTS a pound,’ I thought to myself. But then I realized I needed to stop judging and ACT or he might succeed in negotiating for the whole lot. I looked frantically for a bag, none were to be found. I swiped one from a stand next door (sorry!), pushed my way over to those little ruby red gems and began grabbing them by the handful. My competition realized the situation and began to scoop up as many as he could at the same time. Oh, it was ON… and all I saw was red (tomato red, that is). Once we had cleared the whole stash, I paid for my winnings and walked back to my car, feeling a little bit taller, and pleased with my savvy market skills. Then I got home… and realized that I had purchased five pounds of cherry tomatoes! That’s A LOT of tomatoes for a household of two…
If you’re like me and went a little crazy getting the last of those summer cherry tomatoes, there are plenty of ways to use them, but my absolute favorite is to roast them in the oven.
I’m not sure why, but something about putting them in the oven enhances the flavors to new levels. This is also a great technique if your tomatoes aren’t that flavorful, as they can be sometimes towards the end of the season. You can even roast pounds of them, portion them out in containers and stick them in the freezer, so you can enjoy yummy tomatoes all through fall and winter. I took about half of my tomato bounty, roasted them and turned them into an awesome ‘sauce’ that I spooned over roasted chicken (recipe below). It’s quite the crowd-pleaser and offers a colorful presentation. Unfortunately, I’m new to this whole blogging thing and forgot to take pictures (oops!). So here’s a link to an AWESOME slow-roasted tomato recipe with gorgeous photos, from one of my fave blogs: Smitten Kitchen.
Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Author: Callista Wengler
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 50 mins Total time: 1 hour
2 lbs cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 shallot, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
½ C chicken stock
½ C white wine
salt & pepper to taste (I recommend ½ tsp salt to start)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Put cherry tomatoes in a bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil till they are evenly coated.
Place tomatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, or until slightly browned.
Once the tomatoes are done, take them out and set aside.
Heat up the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook 3 min. Add garlic and cook 2 min.
Add tomatoes, chicken stock, wine, salt and pepper (you can also add in fresh herbs such as thyme or marjoram). Cook 5 minutes or until the liquid is almost all evaporated.
Posted on 10/10/2013 at 12:00:00 AM