How to Cook With Out-of-Season Tomatoes
It’s that time of year: Depending on where you live, you’ve likely eaten, or will very soon eat, your last truly good tomato of the season. Gone are the days when your tomato plants were teeming with fresh fruit. That’s a sight you won’t see again for at least six months.
There’s nothing worse than an out-of-season tomato. It may look good on the outside, but it’s almost certainly watery and bland on the inside.
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You may feel like you can only cook with canned tomatoes in the off-season. There’s nothing wrong with that—canned tomatoes are definitely useful and necessary for the perfect soup, stew, or sauce. But still, nothing beats the real thing.
The next time you find yourself pining for fresh, summer tomatoes, try one of these tricks:
The method so nice, we’re telling you about it twice. Slow cooking tomatoes brings out a much stronger, concentrated flavor. Confit, which means “to preserve,” refers to the process of slowly cooking food with fat. Douse your tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil and cook them at low-heat for about two hours—you’ll be amazed at the result.
Out-of-season lack the sweetness of their in-season counterparts. Seasoning your tomatoes or tomato sauce with a pinch of sugar could help correct that. Add some salt, then throw your newly-seasoned tomatoes in the oven for a few minutes to draw out the water.
What? First I tell you to slow roast your tomatoes at low-heat to bring out their flavor, now I’m telling you to do the exact opposite. How can that be? Well, broiling a tomato will blister the skin, caramelizing its sugars. You’re finished when the tomatoes are browned on all sides. Season it to taste before using them in your recipe.