sad tomatoes

“Can you use those?”

I’ve just picked the final few stragglers from our tomato vines, and they aren’t pretty. Split, bruised, unevenly ripe. Time has not been kind.

The husband wants to compost them. But who tosses garden tomatoes? It’s a crime against taste.

“They’ll be fine,” I tell him.

And roasted with onion, garlic and the last of the summer squash, they are.

squash puree

Last-Of-Summer Puree

The genesis of this puree came from “Wine Spectator” magazine. A featured chef shared his recipe for a squash puree that he used to garnish fish.

The chef’s recipe calls for peeling, roasting and sauteing, then adding a lot of extraneous ingredients. This take is much easier: A quick roast in a hot oven and a whir in the food processor yield a thick, summery sauce that you can dollop on top of anything. Leftovers are delicious whisked with a little broth and heated for a fast soup.

squash & tomatoes

  • Half a red onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 medium summer squash, cut into inch cubes
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (If they’re end-of-summer and kind of sad, simply cut around any splits or iffy spots)
  • Handful of basil
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

squash roastingGrease a baking sheet. Place the onion, garlic, squash and tomatoes on it. Douse with olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. You want the vegetables to be completely soft and the most of the liquid to cook out of the tomatoes.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Put everything into a food processor. Add the basil and lemon juice, then process until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add olive oil until it reaches the consistency you want. Season with salt and pepper, then serve with fish, chicken or pasta, or heat with water or broth for a roasted, end-of-summer soup.

One note: I like doing this in a food processor so the mixture retains some texture. If you want a completely smooth puree, use a blender.