tomatoes in any dish. But you know what? Globalization, that’s what. Inherently devastating to the earth? Yes. Are the tomatoes this time of year even worth the carbon footprint? No. But sometimes you just need that hit of summer after a day of trekking through snow, or after surviving weather that can only be explained using vortexes.
This recipe promises to transform even the saddest out-of-season tomatoes into something that will remind you of easier, sunnier times. We are talking tomatoes THREE ways here, and each preparation involves coaxing flavor
out of the fruit with all the polar rage you feel after one too many nights sleeping in a radiator-heated apartment over which you have no control. Summer is coming forcibly early, folks, if only in a stylish champagne flute.
For the granita:
2 lbs fresh tomatoes (it really doesn’t matter what
2 fresh red chilies (I like fresno or red jalapenos, but you can really use any fresh chili here)
Salt and pepper
1 bunch of basil
For the tomato oil
6-10 sundried tomatoes (I know, I know, they are passé, but we aren’t snobs)
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper
For the other stuff
2 cups of ricotta cheese (I make mine homemade by following this recipe, but use store-bought if you value having extra time on your hands)
1 pint of fresh cherry tomatoes
Basil to garnish
Begin by making the granita. Turn your oven on to 400° and slice all the tomatoes in half. Cover them with olive oil,
salt, and pepper, and throw them into the oven on a baking sheet with the whole red chilies for 60 minutes, or until they begin to give up their juices (sexy) and get a little dark on the outside.
Meanwhile get started on the oil. Put the sundried tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil into a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Let this cook until the garlic is soft (about 30 minutes). *Make sure to use a lid, or else you will get oil-splattered and that’s not a cute look. Throw the contents into a food processor or blender and process until it is all broken down. Throw in a few really generous pinches of salt and pepper and taste it! The oil should taste, well, oily, but it should also taste like tomatoes. Put the oil in the fridge until you need it later.
Return to the tomatoes in the oven. Once they are nice and soft, throw everything except the chilies into a food processor or blender and process until it is smooth. (Keep the oven on though in order to make the burst cherry tomatoes later). Add one of the whole chilies, half of the basil, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Taste it!
Continue to season until this mixture tastes rich and tomato-ey.
Pour the mixture into a shallow glass baking dish and throw it in the freezer. After an hour, come back and scrape up the mixture. Return every hour and scrape it until it freezes into fluffy tomato crystals.
Make the burst cherry tomatoes by tossing them whole with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them in the oven until they have literally burst open (about 20 minutes). Set them aside.
Whew. Assemble: Layer the granita, the ricotta, and the oil in a glass, a mason jar, or champagne flute.
Top with a burst tomato, a little more oil, and fresh basil leaves.