Saturday, September 29, 2018

Umami Bomb from…Tomato Skins?

I'm admitting up front that I am borrowing this from the estimable Ms. Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have, who mentioned this unique idea recently. Intrigued, and still in the middle of processing, oh, about 100 pounds of tomatoes, I was swimming in tomato skins that I had plucked out of the sheet pans of roasted tomatoes that were flying out of my oven.

Dried tomato skins.

Instead of tossing them into the compost, I spread them out in a thin layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan and put them in the oven, which I'd preheated to 150°. It took a few hours, but eventually there was a whiff of roasty tomato smell coming from the oven. Checking them, they were very slightly moist but with that leathery texture of good dried peppers. So after letting them cool, I threw some in the spice grinder, and in a few seconds they were reduced to a fine, flakey consistency, with that gorgeous red color intact.

As a layer in rolled pork loin.

So far I've sprinkled them in scrambled eggs, scattered them on top of macaroni and cheese, and layered them in a pork loin roast with rosemary, fennel pollen and salt, all to delicious effect. Their roasted tomato essence carries through when they soften, and adds a layer of umami that you might get from, say, roasted peppers. I can see using them in hummus or a sour cream dip, in sauces and as a sprightly addition to some of my favorite deviled eggs.

Thanks, Katherine, for the suggestion!

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