Thursday, March 4, 2010

tomato fondue

All good cooking starts with great basics.

Thanks to my favourite cookbook, Healthy Gluten-Free Cooking by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearny, gluten-free basics are easy to master. I also have to thank a dear celiac friend for passing along the cookbook. Without it, I probably wouldn't have eaten for weeks following my diagnosis last year. The recipes are easy to follow and are a great launch pad for inspiring new recipes. Without the cookbook, I wouldn't be writing this blog and I definitely wouldn't be enjoying experimenting in the kitchen.

Tomato fondue be a side vegetable dish, sauce for pasta, filling for an omelet or a base for stews. It will make you never want to eat pre-made pasta sauce ever again.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 medium very ripe tomatoes, peeled, in summer, or 2.5 x 14 oz cans tomatoes in winter
salt, freshly ground black pepper and sugar to taste
1 tablespoon any of the following: freshly chopped mint or torn basil or a mixture of thyme, parsley, lemon balm, and marjoram
balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, toss until coated, cover and sweat on gentle heat until soft but not coloured. It is vital for the success of this dish that the onions are completely soft before the tomatoes are added. Slice the peeled tomatoes and add with all the juice to the onions and garlic.

Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and sugar (canned tomatoes need more sugar because of their high acidity). Add the herbs. Cook, covered for 10 minutes more, or until the tomato softens. Cook fresh tomatoes for a shorter time to preserve the lively fresh flavour. Canned tomatores need to be cooked for longer depending on whether you want to use the fondue as a vegetable, sauce, or filling.

Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking to greatly enhance the flavour.

Enjoy any way you like! I cooked mine as a side vegetable to accompany homemade crab cakes. Delicious!

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