In my never-ending attempts to connect with my Italian roots, and in my continued efforts to be a good citizen and not waste anything, I have concocted this recipe after looking at several sites to come up something doable. It is a bit time consuming but read on, it will be so worth it, I promise. Besides, what else are you going to do? Binge watch yet another series on MHZ? Clean another closet? And the beauty of this project is that has a real Zen effect, for me anyway. When was the last time closet cleaning had that effect?
Back a bit ago (September 2018, I guess more than a bit), I did a post on making tomato sauce from scratch using the end of summer greenmarket bounty. This is a kind of an epilogue to that post. I have taken to removing the skins from the tomatoes before actually cooking them down to make the sauce because after doing the pureeing, there was a big mess of skin and seeds and it became sort of a PITA to clean up. The last few times I made sauce this summer, I sliced a cross in the end of the tomato and removed the core at the top and blanched them in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. After that time seconds, I removed the tomatoes and placed them in a bowl of ice water to cool. The skins came off without an iota of trouble, and my cleaning mess was halved.
But then I started thinking, there must be a use for those skins. So searched the web and found a myriad of ideas. This encapsulates all of them. After removing the skins, place them on a sheet pan covered either with parchment paper or a Silpat. Try to keep them as separated as possible. If you have blanched them right, the skins will come off in sheets and that will make it easier for you. Place the pan in a 250 degree oven and let them dry completely (the whole process will take 45 minutes to an hour (if you use a convection oven, slightly shorter). The skins will shrink, check them periodically so that they do not burn and rotate the pan occasionally (Some suggested to use the microwave, that procedure did not work for me). Make sure the skins are dried, think Cape Cod Kettle Chip dry. When completely dessicated, let them cool and put them into a food grinder, or use a mortar and pestle to grind. Add a touch of salt if you want. There you have it, powdered tomato topping. With the dregs of the tomato made by your own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from doing good for the earth. Plus the added benefit of sauce which you can freeze for those cold months to come.
Its uses? It is a seasoning. Sprinkle it atop of linguine with white clam sauce for a touch of color. Sprinkle atop sliced mozzarella with a bit of oil, cheater Caprese. Sprinkle in eggs to add zing to omelets.
Or……rim glasses for Bloody Mary’s. Your guests will thank you!