In order to take the next step in my food journey, I got a copy of Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio. He is a judge on the show Top Chef looking for the best chefs in the world and intimidates the hell out of the contestants with his intensity and absolute honesty at the same time. When I saw his book I thought to myself, Tom will help me really learn about food and help me make my next foodie leap.
“Roasted tomatoes perfectly illustrate the concept of starting with one ‘ingredient’ and building outward, from simple to complex”~ Tom Colicchio
Tom teaches you to look at one ingredient and see how many things you can do with it. He also teaches about techniques, getting right down to the basics, so you can take the knowledge of how to cook and marry it with just about any ingredient. It is absolutely fascinating.
This week I took on the challenge of roasted tomatoes. I bought some tomatoes, sliced them in half, added some unpeeled garlic and thyme to the mix and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper. I roasted them at 350F for 20 minutes and then removed the skins (which was easy to do) and drain off the tomato juices. I turned down the oven to 275F and let them roast for hours. No more juices accumulated so I just let them “go” all afternoon.
About roasting… “The term manages to conjure comfort food and adventurous cooking simultaneously, along with an image of gorgeously browned edges and caramelized flavor.”~ Tom Colicchio
So I have the tomatoes, what will I do with them? I decide to follow Tom’s recipe for a tomato vinaigrette but I decide to add the leftover roasted garlic to the mix and blitz up the dressing in my blender and slowly “drizzle in the olive oil” routine and ended up with tomato vinaigrette all over me, my cupboards and walls!
It was totally worth it. The flavour was deep and lovely and went perfectly on my seafood pasta salad. Perhaps if I had gotten tomatoes right off the vine the flavour would have been more intense but for grocery store tomatoes, the flavour was impressive and worth the effort.
I am so picky about the quality of food I do not mind heating up my house in the summer roasting tomatoes all day if the flavour pays off. If thinking like a chef is going to give me the deep and rich flavours and textures I desire, then I am going to do just that.