Imperfect Heirloom Tomato Sauce
End of August, markets are bursting with summer produce, specifically tomatoes. Prices start to drop (sometimes), if you aren’t making something with tomatoes, I dare say you are out of sync. Baldor produce, something you may have never heard of is the specialty produce purveyor for the majority of your favourite dining spots. What’s more? You have probably had Baldor in your grocery cart unknowingly. My trade secret, that is not so secret anymore: I buy almost all of my produce at Eataly, which means I buy it from Baldor. Baldor runs the produce department at Eataly and I couldn’t be happier. I spend less than the majority of the other markets I shop at and receive fresher produce that has not gotten lost in the system of procurement.
Baldor is big on sustainability. They pride themselves on little to no waste, which is rare for a produce company. Scraps are often shared with companies like MisFit juice, where they cold pressed blends are never made using first choice produce. They have also started an initiative called Imperfect Produce. I heard about it and was super intrigued. Was I going to be getting bags of kale like I do for 1.99 only to find that they are already stinky at the bottom? What does imperfect mean? Could I get my hands on some? Well, just like all of you, I shop retail for my food. No longer being in kitchens, rather focused on writing about delicious meals that you can make at home, both Clean and Enough. I called up a friend in a restaurant so I could have a moment of perspective on the quality and flavour of imperfect and had quite the weekend full of tomatoes and kale.
First Up: Heirloom Tomato sauce, with a ton of caramelized red onion, this is begging to be paired with swordfish or bucatini. Finish with some fresh percorino and basil leaves.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 2 Hours
3 each Red Onions (about 4-5 cups)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive OIl
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flake
2 teaspoons Fine Sea Salt
8-10 each Garlic Cloves
12-14 cups Heirloom Tomatoes
Mince the garlic and set aside.
Remove the skins from the red onions and slice in half.
Dice red onion and combine with garlic in a heavy bottomed Le Creuset or pot.
Add olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flake.
Sweat onions on medium-low heat for 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, the onions will begin to caramelize and will be finished at 40 minutes total. **Do not rush this step or the onions and garlic will burn.
Meanwhile, remove any brown edges of the heirlooms along with the core. Chop the heirlooms into bite sized pieces.
Add the tomatoes to the pot, scraping up any caramelized bits on the bottom.
Cook on medium-low heat for 40 minutes covered.
Remove the lid and place a splash guard or inverted colander on top of pot to catch and bubble.
Continue to cook for another hour and 20 minutes. Stirring to prevent burning.
Season with a final 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Use immediately or store in the fridge for one week, the freezer for 3 months.
Finish with fresh basil and pecorino romano cheese.