Now that our extended growing season in the Northeast is winding down, I have taken stock of the tomato varieties I grew this year. I like to grow tomatoes that are multi-colored and -sized. I love to assemble a platter of rainbow tomatoes as a centerpiece to a summer meal. My absolute new favorite is 'Yellow Persimmon'. The fruits are huge, up to 2 pounds. The flesh is richly flavored, fruity, dense and juicy. True, there isn’t a pronounced acid hit but this variety has changed my way of thinking about the paler breeds. They can be fine slicers for the table or can cook up to a sweet, thick sauce. I also grew 'Husky Gold'. It's smaller, perfectly round and densely fleshed, and turns a deep orange-yellow when ripe. Tasting the Persimmon and Husky side by side, the Husky seemed bland. I thought, "Well, I’m not going to bother with them next year," but I changed my mind when I set out to make a sauce.
At this time of year, the tomatoes and peppers start piling up and getting very ripe. Instead of making the usual marinara sauce, I figured I would try a Mexican-style enchilada sauce using these large, red chiles I grew and the Husky Golds. May as well put the fleshiness to work in a sauce that will have nice toasty chile, garlic and shallot flavors going on. What I didn’t realize was that when you roast these—or any tomatoes—the gel sacs around the seeds start melting and concentrating. I always de-seed tomatoes over a strainer so I can save all of that tasty gel. But when you cut open a warm tomato that has plumped up on a hot cast-iron griddle, the tomato bursts open with a lava of pure tomato nectar. That's when you throw your roasted chiles, garlic, shallot and tomatoes into the blender and puree. Then heat a splash of oil in a large skillet and cook the sauce until thickened. Spicy-intense ambrosia! Oh yes, 'Husky Gold' and 'Yellow Persimmon' will be in my garden next year.
- KITCHEN & HOME