Hello, My Fellow Springdellians! Jess here. Like many of you, I spent a good part of the weekend partying with my CSA fruits and vegetables. Coupled with the harvest of tomatoes from my plot at the Community Gardens, my produce was slowly taking over my kitchen countertops. It was time to take some real estate back! Given that most of my countertop was overrun with tomatoes (not that I’m complaining in the least), I decided to make some fresh tomato sauce. Differing from the Winter Pantry Pasta Sauce I posted during the cold months, this recipe calls for fresh tomatoes and herbs wherever available. This versatile recipe can also incorporate just about every veggie in the share box!
I started by peeling an abundance of tomatoes (about 5 solid pounds worth of Plum, Super Sonic, Striped German and Bumble Bees grown from Springdell seedlings). I then coarsely chopped them before pureeing them.
I heated a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large pot, then sautéed about 3/4 cup of finely chopped Springdell heirloom onions and about 6 cloves of minced garlic until they were translucent and not browning. (If I were cooking this sauce with meat it would go in the pot with the onion and cook until just browned). This is a great time to chop up some peppers, zucchini, or any other veggie you’d like to add to your sauce as well! Next I put in about 1/2 cup of red wine, a handful of thinly chopped fresh basil (a frozen pesto cube could be added instead), and a generous tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves (or a dried teaspoon of oregano flakes). A bay leaf or two is also nice. I usually like a sweetness to my sauce and put in sugar to taste, (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), along with a teaspoon of kosher salt. Along with the aforementioned veggies, I pureed one of the larger tomatillos and tossed it in for a little extra tang. I may or may not have added some kale powder to this also, shhh don’t tell my boys!.
I brought everything to a boil and then simmered for about 1 1/2 hours, tasting along the way.
I put some sauce aside for today’s Eggplant Parmesan and froze the rest.
I like to slice the eggplant to about 1/4 inch. I learned a trick a few years back to remove any bitterness from eggplant. (It usually isn’t an issue with our beautiful and super fresh eggplant, but just in case:) I put them in a colander and sprinkle them with kosher salt before putting a plate and heavy jar (or in this case, heavy tomatoes) on them to create a gentle press.
I let them stand for about an hour (they will leak a tiny bit so you want to make sure the colander is over a plate or something). After that you can rinse the salt off the slices and drain and dry them (with cloth or paper towels) before proceeding with your recipe.
Some of my eggplant slices were dipped in egg and breadcrumbs & Parmesan then baked and frozen for later use. Some were lightly fried and used in this Serious Eats Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan that was shared recently on the Facebook page by a Fellow Springdellian (Thank you!) It was very yummy and even my younger guys ate it all up! My only change to the recipe was to add some shredded Parmesan (it is Eggplant Parmesan, after all). If my zucchini wasn’t already spoken for, it would have been a nice additional layer with the eggplant as well.