The Solution to Tomato Overload: Make Tomato Dust
At Clay Pigeon Food and Drink in Fort Worth, Texas, chef Marcus Paslay suffers from the same late summer/early fall quandary as many of the rest of us: what to do with an overabundance of late season tomatoes. His solution is to make tomato dust, which gives his dishes a vibrant color and concentrated flavor. He describes the simple process:
1. Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out any liquid so that only the “meat” of the tomatoes remains.
2. Put the tomatoes in a dehydrator for 24 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator, place the tomatoes in an oven on the lowest setting (ideally about 100–125 degrees) on a rack over a sheet tray to allow for air circulation. Check the tomatoes every few hours until dry and brittle.
3. Use a coffee or spice grinder to pulse the dry tomatoes into a fine powder.
Once ground, the powder has a myriad of uses. Three of Paslay’s favorites:
1. Umami-packed seasoning. Tomato dust becomes a colorful garnish and flavoring agent for fish or roasted vegetables.
2. Pasta dough booster. Incorporating the powder into homemade pasta dough adds tomato essence without extra liquid—like an inverse homage to pasta with tomato sauce.
3. Savory cocktail rim. Mix tomato dust with salt to garnish a Bloody Mary or other savory brunch cocktail.