Tomato Fondue

        From the blog For Love of the Table

1 lb. Vine Ripened Tomatoes

1/2 c. finely diced summer onions

1 t. (heaped, if you like) minced garlic

3 to 4 T. olive oil

1 bay leaf

Several sprigs of fresh thyme, oregano and/or winter savory—leaves picked and minced

salt


Halve the tomatoes horizontally (vertically if using Romas).  Holding the tomato halves over a sieve set over a bowl, scoop out the seeds (using your fingers).  Set the de-seeded tomato halves aside for a second while you stir and press the seedy juice around in the sieve (with a rubber spatula) until all the juices have gone through the sieve.  Discard the seeds.  Using a large-holed grater set on a plate or pie pan, grate the tomatoes by holding the cut side of the tomatoes against the grater and grating until just the skin remains in your palm.  Add the grated tomato pulp to the tomato juices.  (See note.)


Warm the oil in a medium sized sauté pan or shallow sauce pan set over moderately low heat and add the onions, along with a pinch of salt.  Cook gently until the onions are softabout 10 minutes for juicy, summer onions.  Add the garlic and cook another 3 or 4 minutes.  


Add the tomatoes and herbs to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally and regularly (carefully scraping down the edges of the pan as the fondue reduces) until the mixture is thick.  If you draw a spatula through the fondue, a path will remain.  You will also be able to mound the fondue on a spoon.  (This will take about 20 minutes or so.). Taste and season with salt to bring out the brightest tangy flavor.


You will have 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup of tomato fondue.  Store in a Tupperware or covered jar in the refrigerator.


Notes:

  • The original recipe called for the tomatoes to be peeled, seeded and cut into a fine dice.  Since the tomato flesh breaks down as it cooks, it seems easiest to me to simply grate the flesh as I have done.  You may of course peel, seed and dice if you like.
  • We made the fondue in very large quantities at the restaurant—a batch made with four pounds of tomatoes would have been typical.  You may multiply this into any sized batch you like, just remember to use a wide (as opposed to deep) pan.  A large surface area will encourage the tomatoes to reduce and concentrate more quickly.  Large batches will still take longer, but the fondue will cook better in a wide pan.  When I make this in large batches, I multiply everything but the bay leaf. I find bay to be quite strong and even if I were making a four pound batch would still use just one leaf.