It’s tomato time, the time of the year when the genuine, vine-ripened flavor of just-picked tomatoes is exploding all over the place. In fact, if you are reading this on the Saturday that it posts, and you are within driving distance of St Paul, MN, you still have time to pick a tomato and come enter Marilyn’s Annual Tomato Contest.
I just happen to be judging this contest, on Sunday.
That’s right- Tomato lover that I am, I get to sample many, many tomatoes, and then try to pick the stand outs. Will there be intrigue, competition, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat?
Of course, but mostly, there will be one very happy Judge, fork in one hand, salt shaker in the other, swooshing and sniffing mouthfuls of ripe tomato as if they were fine wine.
If you are in the area, come see how it goes, at Marilyn’s Annual Tomato Contest, which starts at 2 on August 31st, at Freddies Tiki Hut, 1820 Rice Street in St Paul, MN. Of course, you don’t have to bring a tomato to have a good time. It’s a Tiki Hut with tomatoes, how could you not?
In anticipation of the event, I have been enjoying the heck out of my own tomatoes. This week the yellow pears and Santa Sweets have been delivering bowls full of tomatoey goodness. Enough, in fact, that I decided to make a roasted tomato pizza.
So, I cranked the oven to 425 and drizzled the tomatoes with olive oil. Too lazy to even halve them, I just wanted the heat to sear and concentrate all that tomato tangy-sweetness.
A few garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and a tomato topping was ready. I have a few versions of pizza crust that you can use to make this, or you can use your own.
From there, all you need is some caramelized onions a handful of fresh basil and a hot oven (or grill!)
So if I see you at the contest, please say hello. If not, don’t forget to seize the waning moments of Summer and eat those full-on flavorful Summer tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato Pizza with Basil
2 large onions, slivered
extra virgin olive oil
4 cups whole pear shaped cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 10-12 inch pizza crusts, ready to bake
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1. Caramelize the onions- heat the olive oil over medium high in a large saute pan, then add the onions. Stir until they start to sizzle and stick a little, then lower to medium. Stir often for about 20 minutes, reducing the heat as the onions soften. It’s best to give them 40 minutes more, at least, to fully caramelize, but if you want to stop as soon as they are golden brown, they should be pretty sweet. Sprinkle with a little salt.
2. Preheat to oven to 425 F. On a sheet pan or roaster, place the tomatoes and drizzle with oil, add the garlic and a pinch of salt and toss. Roast for about 30, until the tomatoes are exploded and blackened a bit. Scrape the hot tomatoes and their liquid into a bowl.
3. Prep your pizza crust for topping- cover with onions, then tomatoes. Bake for about 15 minutes. When the pizza is golden brown and crisp, serve, topped with fresh basil and a sprinkle of salt at the last minutes.