For those who are veggiephobic, this post is for you.
I get that some people, my son included, do not like tomatoes. My roommate in college hated tomatoes. Would not touch anything red on her plate. This was a bit of a conundrum because 90% of the meals I could cook back then involved canned tomato in some form. I think it was my (attempt at) Jambalaya that converted her from a tomato-tyrant to lycopene-lover! The same trick has not been as successful with my son, mostly because my Jambalaya contains another food phobia of his: seafood. Shrimp to be exact. He gags at the sight of any aquatic species on a plate. I wonder if he is trying to avoid accidentally eating Nemo?
To get those good wholesome tomatoes in his system, they had to be sweet and invisible. I would need a cloaking device: the oven.
Roasting any vegetable (I know tomatoes are fruit, but that’s not important here) will concentrate the natural sugars and begin to caramelize them. Humans, especially children, seek out sweet foods; this tells our brains that this food is fuel. Bitter and sour indicate a possible threat, like poisons and broccoli. Treat your less palatable vegetables to an artificial sun tan in your oven or on the grill. They will be less likely to send off alarms, hissy fits, and tantrums at the dinner table.
This roasted sauce has five ingredients.
- organic tomatoes, halved and cored
- red bell pepper, halved and seeded
- olive oil
- salt (to taste)
- herbs: Greek or Italian herb blend, or fresh basil and oregano
Set the tomatoes and peppers cut side down in a roasting dish. Brush the skins with oil. Roast at 350ºF until soft, about half an hour.
Let the pan cool before carefully removing the skins from the tomatoes and peppers. Put the pulp and any juices into a blender or food processor. Add a pinch of salt and herbs to your taste. Blend until smooth.
Pour the blended peppers and tomatoes in a pot, bring the mixture to a slow simmer and reduce to whatever thickness you like. Store in the fridge in non-reactive containers up to a week or use it immediately with pasta. If you reduce it further, it would make a great pizza sauce.