Recipes: Slow Roasted Tomato Passata | Stuff.co.nz

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Making slow roasted tomato passata is a great way to use up your tomato glut.

NICOLA GALLOWAY/NZ GARDENER/stuff

Making slow roasted tomato passata is a great way to use up your tomato glut.

Oven heat intensifies the sweet flavor and concentrates this otherwise water-resistant fruit.

Unlike traditional passata, where the seeds are removed, slow roasting reduces its bitterness. All tomato varieties can be used; I often use a combination of all the tomatoes I grow.

Makes about 4 x 700ml glasses (I reuse Passata glasses)

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

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4 kg ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 teaspoons of salt

About 4 tablespoons of olive oil

6 tablespoons lemon or lime juice or 2 teaspoons citric acid (just for keeping warm)

Optional: 1 head of garlic, peeled and left whole, a handful of fresh basil or oregano leaves.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C for a fan oven).

Arrange the chopped tomatoes and garlic and herbs, if using, on 2 large baking sheets. Sprinkle each sheet with 1 teaspoon salt and drizzle generously with olive oil. Place in the oven and roast slowly for 50-60 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Swap the trays halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.

Allow to cool slightly, then place the tomatoes in a large bowl or saucepan. Using an immersion blender, blend to a smooth passata sauce. At this stage, the passata can be frozen in portioned containers or stored in jars, as follows.

Option 1: water bath method

Using a ladle and wide-necked funnel, fill the jars, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. In each 700ml glass, add 1½ tablespoons lemon or lime juice or ½ teaspoon citric acid. Swirl through the sauce with the end of a clean spoon. unscrew the lid.

Place the jars in a water bath preserver or design one with a large pot with a rack or platter in the bottom for the jars to stand on. Fill with water to completely cover the jars by 1-2cm. Cover and bring to a simmer, then hold at this temperature for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the jars from the water bath and cool on a wooden board.

Option 2: Open pan – hot glass, hot sauce method

Place the jars and lids in an oven at 120°C (100°C fan oven) for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the passata in a saucepan and simmer gently.

Remove from the oven one jar at a time and carefully fill the hot jar with hot sauce, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. In each 700ml jar, add citrus juice or citric acid as directed above and secure lids. Check the caps after 30 minutes and tighten if necessary.

For either method, once the jars have cooled completely, check the lids to make sure they’re vacuum sealed (concave into the jar). Name and date the jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened, keep refrigerated and consume within 1 week.

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