Slow cooked chile tomatoes with burrata & basil

In life, there are classics. Think Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Or Bert and Ernie, if you’re more of a Sesame Street kind of person. Or peanut butter & jelly, for those of you who don’t get out of the house much.

The point is, there are certain combinations – pairings– that just sing. They work. They’re tried and tested. Are you with me?

Mozzarella and tomato salad is one such classic. It takes the very best mozzarella cheese, pairs it with the finest tomatoes and tucks in some fresh basil for good measure. A lick of extra virgin olive oil and you’re done. End of story, culinary happiness and everyone rides off into the sunset.

But we like to mess around with classics, here at the ranch. Not too much, but enough to give it the kiss of life. And no, I don’t mean mouth-to-mouth resuscitation – I’m talking about the kiss of chile. For this one, we top tomatoes with a mix of chile, a bit of brown sugar and some salt. Slow cook them in the oven until the flavor is intense and lip smackin’ good. Then plate them up with some burrata – kind of like mozzarella on steroids – basil leaves and you’re in business.

Any extra tomatoes can be placed in a glass jar, topped up with oil and popped in the fridge – ready for the next time you feel a classic coming on.

Preheat oven to 250°

3 lbs plum tomatoes

1 Tbsp mild chile molido

½ Tbsp hot chile molido

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp sea salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways. Make a small v-shaped incision to remove any core. Place the tomatoes snugly together cut side up on a large baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over them.

Mix together the chile powders, brown sugar and salt and sprinkle over the tomato halves. You’ll probably have more chile powder mix then you’ll need but stop complaining – you can dust it on pasta, mix some with mayonnaise for a sandwich or keep it in a jar for your next batch of tomatoes.

Cook the tomatoes for a couple of hours, then gently flip the halves so they’re now cut side down. Cook for a couple hours more – we’re talking 4-6 hours in total. They should have lost most of their moisture.

Serve with burrata (or plain old mozzarella), some basil leaves, and a healthy glug of olive oil and a few flakes of chile pequin, if you’re so inclined.

 

Sweet as candy

Do you remember that time last winter? You know…. when the snow was up to your armpits and you were sure spring would never come. You walked into your local grocery store, staggered over to the veg department and there you saw it: a red tomato. It was a beacon saying, “Winter won’t last, I promise.” So you picked up that tomato and cradled it like a baby and went home.

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But guess what? You sliced that puppy up and it tasted like nothing. Absolutely nothing. Cuz tomatoes may look nice in winter but they don’t taste so hot. So here you are – it’s late summer and winter seems pretty far away. But it’s not. So now is the time to eat your fill of tomatoes. Eat them raw, cooked and anything in between. Eat them until you’re positive you can’t stomach another.

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Because sooner than you think, winter’s going to be back. So make some memories now that will last you a good long time. This Tomato tart is a great way to boost your tomato intake. We slow roast them in the oven so the flavor is super concentrated – they taste like candy only way better. We use a store bought pastry because life is short and who needs the hassle of making it? But we don’t go for the cheapo stuff – we like Dufour pastry. Why? Because it’s made with lots and lots and lots of butter. Need we say more? And we didn’t say this recipe was lo-cal, ok?

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Here’s another tip. Make an extra batch or two of the tomatoes. Pop them in a plastic container and put them in the freezer. That should get you through this year’s winter.

Sweet.

Roasted Tomato, Green Chile & Goat’s Cheese Tart

Serves 4-6

1 ¾ lbs cherry tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp chile molido mild
14 oz. puff pastry
3 oz. soft goat’s cheese
½ package New Mexico green chile, rehydrated

Preheat the oven to 220°.

Slice the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt and chile molido over the top. Place the tomatoes in the oven and cook for 1 ½-2 hours until the tomatoes have lost their moisture. They should be soft and slightly chewy. Remove from the oven.

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Increase the oven temperature to 425°.

Place the puff pastry on another baking sheet. Place the tomatoes on the puff pastry, leaving a small border along all the edges. Slice the green chile into strips and add to the tomatoes then crumble the goat’s cheese on top.

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Place the baking tray in the oven and bake the tart for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is lightly browned and the cheese warm and melted. Slice into squares and serve hot or at room temperature.