Maine Chef Kathy Gunst on what we should cook and eat to make us feel better about the waning summer season.
END-OF-THE-SEASON ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
From Notes from a Maine Kitchen (Down East Books, 2011)by Kathy Gunst
Roasting at a high temperature gives tomatoes a rich, slightly smoky flavor, and onions and garlic become sweet as they caramelize. For those that have a fear of canning, this is a no-fail tomato sauce that can be refrigerated for three to five days, or it can be frozen in a tightly sealed plastic bag for several months. The sauce can also be placed in sterilized Mason jars and processed (20 minutes in a boiling water bath); it will keep for up to 10 months.
Toss the sauce with pasta, serve it over grilled chicken or fish, or in any dish that calls for regular tomato sauce. You can cut the recipe in half or make a huge batch, depending on how many tomatoes you have. Feel free to add pitted olives, drained capers, chopped sweet or hot peppers, anchovies, or any other fresh herbs you have on hand.
About 8 pounds ripe tomatoes, any variety, cored and quartered*
10 medium onions, peeled and quartered
10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, and/or chives)
About ¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Generous grinding of black pepper
A few tablespoons sugar (optional)
*I don’t peel my tomatoes when I make this sauce because the high temperature roasting produces a peel that is very edible. However if you truly dislike tomato peels, simple remove them by dropping the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds and then, immediately, drop them into a bowl of ice cold water. The peel will come off easily.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, gently toss together the tomatoes, onions, whole and chopped garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. Gently stir the vegetables. Roast for another 25 minutes and gently toss. Add any of the optional ingredients listed above and roast for another 45 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened and somewhat broken down into a sauce, with a golden brown crust on top. Remove and taste for seasoning. If the sauce tastes bitter, add a few tablespoons of the sugar.
Let cool and place in clean, sterile jars or tightly sealed plastic bags, and refrigerate, freeze, or can. Makes about 10 cups.
KATHY GUNST’S WARM LEMON-HERB POTATO SALAD
Look for farm-fresh potatoes this season. Remember that really fresh potatoes cook more quickly than ones that have been stores for months after harvest.
1 12 pounds fresh potatoes, like Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup good olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, tarragon, basil, rosemary etc, plus 1 tablespoon, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice 1 large lemon
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, reduce to moderate, and let cook about 12- 16 minutes, or until the potatoes feel tender (but not falling apart) when tested with a small, sharp knife. Drain thoroughly.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar onion, scallions, lemon zest, ¼ cup herbs, salt and pepper and mix well.
Place the still-hot drained potatoes into the oil/herb mixture and stir gently. Squeeze the lemon juice over the potatoes and gently stir. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, herbs, oil or lemon if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of herbs. Serve warm or room temperature. Serves 6.
Harvest fresh herbs, gently wash and dry thoroughly. Place in a food processor or blender with olive oil, salt, pepper and a clove of garlic. Process until almost smooth. Place herb/oil mixture in an old fashioned ice cube tray and freeze. Remove herb cubes to a tightly sealed plastic bag and use as needed all winter long.
You can use any variety of fruit you like for this simple dessert, but make it fresh and seasonal and you won’t need to any much sweetener at all. Rely on the natural sugars of the fruit. You can make this with flour or use a gluten-free substitute like rice or brown rice flour as well.
Serve on its own or with ice cream, Greek yogurt or a dollop of crème fraiche.
1 cup granola
½ cup flour or rice flour
5 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
Pinch ground ginger and ground cinnamon
About ¼ cup maple syrup, agave nectar or light brown sugar
About 3 to 4 cups fruit (berries and or peaches; I like to use late blueberries, strawberries and ripe late summer peaches*)
¼ cup maple syrup, agave nectar or light brown sugar
Pinch ground ginger and or cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare the filling: in a bowl, mix the granola, flour, and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, break the butter up into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the ginger and cinnamon (just a pinch) and work it into the mixture. Add the maple syrup (if you have really fresh fruit you won’t need much) and stir to combine. Set aside.
In a small gratin dish or pie dish, mix the fruit, maple syrup (again, you won’t need much) and just a pinch of ginger and cinnamon. If your fruit is very juicy you might add a tablespoon of flour to thicken the juices Stir.
Spoon the topping on the fruit, pressing down lightly to create a “crust.” You can make the crumble eight hours ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place the crumble of the middle shelf of the oven and bake 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake another 20 or 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the crust looks golden brown and cooked. Serve warm or room temperature.
*Peel the peaches over a large bowl and cut the fruit into thin slices. Be sure to catch all the juices as you pull the peel from the fruit.