Updated: Sep 12, 2022
How's that for click bait?
Albeit a bit cliché, I did find myself asking "where the heck did August go"?
The thick, humid summer nights are fleeting now and that means its approaching the end of tomato season; though I think we can stretch it out just a bit more.
Back in 2020 (when the Earth stood still) I was able to spend a lot of time shutting myself off from the outside world, in my garden. That year turned out to be a banner year for tomatoes. I love Scott Conant's Quick Tomato Sauce recipe, and I made tons of it that year, however I did not see the need to fill the bathtub with it.
Back in 2018 I had great luck with preserving chanterelle mushrooms in heavily salted butter to use at a later date. With my excess basil and the large, fully ripened heirloom tomatoes I had on hand, I figured I would give it a go.
The end result? AMAZING.
I used these tomatoes all throughout the winter and each time I opened the jar, it was like I was transported back to working in my garden in the middle of August. The best uses I
had found for these were an outstanding sauce for seafood or, of course, a luscious buttery tomato sauce for a pasta. You can decide on how rich you want it to be by removing or adding the amount of butter that you preserved the tomatoes in.
P.S. Don't throw away the butter! Since the aroma compounds in basil and tomatoes are fat soluble, it adds an incredible umami rich component to other dishes, added at the last moment. If you are not going to use the butter within one week, ziplock it and freeze it for later.
BUTTER PRESERVED SUMMER TOMATOES
yield: 1 Quart
1 lb fully ripe heirloom tomatoes, wedged
1 sprig fresh basil
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 lbs butter, cubed.
VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure your tomatoes are free from any blemishes and your quart containers are sterile.
Place a small sauce pot on the stove, over medium heat, and add the butter.
Add your sprig of basil and red chili flake into a quart sized glass mason jar. Next, layer in your tomatoes, three wedges at a time, sprinkling each with salt. Fill glass to the top with tomatoes, continuing to sprinkle with salt to the end.
When the butter is melted and hot, but not boiling, pour it over the tomatoes in the mason jar. Make sure the tomatoes and basil are fully submerged and not sticking above the butter, if they are, use a clean spoon to gently push them below the butter. Place the mason jar into the refrigerator, without the lid, until the butter is set. Seal and place the tomatoes in the refrigerator. toward the back (the coldest spot) until ready to use. These will keep preserved three to four months. Once opened, use within 2 days.