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Stewed summer tomatoes recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Stewed Summer Tomatoes with Toast

Few foods make me feel like a real New Englander the way stewed tomatoes do.

New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans, Boston brown bread, Indian pudding… I love them all, but “stewies” as they are belovedly called in my parents’ household, are an event.

More accurately, they’re a breakfast event, which makes it all a bit weird for non-natives and houseguests, especially when all of us huddle around the pot murmuring in expectation.

Stewed Tomatoes for Summer

Our August ritual starts in the garden where Dad harvests a haul of his beefsteak tomatoes. {In bad harvest years, we hit the farmstand down the road.}

Stewed summer tomatoes recipe at lynnecurry.com.

After a rinse, they get sliced and diced and tossed into a hot saute pan with melted butter. They simmer until they release all their juices and fall apart. Seasoned with basil, thyme, marjoram, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, they’re ready for the bowl in about 15 minutes.

A hot dish may sound out of place for summertime. But I assure you that eating a bowl of stewed tomatoes is not at all like soup.

Best served warm, they are the essence of a summer tomato ripened in a bowl. Light, tangy and sweet with floral notes from fresh herbs.

A Side of Toast

But wait for the toast! A full loaf of white bread toasted and buttered is the required accompaniment for dredging through the succulent ochre liquid. {Yes, you can go GF, but skip the toast at your own loss.}

The quality of the bread matters, and we now favor crusty artisan loaves from a terrific local bakery.

Stewed summer tomatoes recipe at lynnecurry.com.

We’re not Italian, but whenever I take a bite of tomato-sodden bread, I think that perhaps our “stewies” are really a misplaced papa al pomodoro.

If tomato season wherever you are has blessed you with plenty of brandywines, cherokee, big beef–or any other beefsteak tomato variety, I invite you to try this primitive dish.

It is a celebration of tomatoes, summer and simple eating pleasures. Especially tasty on the patio.

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Stewed summer tomatoes recipe at lynnecurry.com.
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Stewed Summer Tomatoes

This recipe is all about the tomatoes. They must be vine-ripened with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. Here's the test: if it's great eating raw, it will be perfect for your batch of "stewies." As for the toast, I do not butter it because I prefer to use my allotment for the stewed tomatoes instead. My Dad always butters his toast. Do what you will but be sure to have sufficient toast for wiping out your bowl when you're done.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (5-6 large) ripe beefsteak tomatoes organic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus addition to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-8 1/2-inch thick slices artisan bread

Instructions

  1. Core the tomatoes, then slice them 3/4-inch thick. Chop the slices crosswise to make large dice.

  2. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When it foams, add the tomatoes and the salt. Bring to a simmer and cook undisturbed until the tomatoes break down, about 15 minutes.

  3. Add the basil, thyme and a generous grind of black pepper. Taste for salt and seasonings. If you prefer a richer flavor and a thicker "sauce" add up to 4 tablespoons more butter.

  4. Remove from the heat to cool slightly, then serve in wide bowls with a slice of toast and pass the additional toast on the side.

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