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Slow Down Summer for a Savory Winter

By Mark Mulcahy
Image of Organic Cherry Tomatoes
If you are like me, summer can be a busy time going here and there and getting projects done around the house to prepare for winter. One of my favorite things to do is prep some of summer's bounty for winter enjoyment. This year I discovered a new way to preserve that wonderful summer tomato flavor with a Slow-Cooker Tomato Compote recipe I found in the New York Times cooking section.

Many times, when we think of a compote, we think of something sweet. This one is full of savory goodness, which is a perfect party spread on crostini with a little goat cheese or as a topping for a weekend pasta dinner.

I adapted the recipe, which is pretty routine for me. Instead of using a slow cooker, I used my trusty soup pot and cooked the tomatoes on ultra-low for 6 hours. I also doubled the garlic and used 5 sprigs of fresh thyme and Italian parsley. I chose Italian parsley for its awesome parsley flavor; plus, it’s very nutritious. Loaded with vitamins C and A, calcium, magnesium and iron, parsley is also rich in chlorophyll, so it’s like all deep greens—it builds and helps detoxify your blood. I like that the recipe calls for cherry tomatoes as they come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from large to currant-size, in pear and plum shapes, with white, yellow, orange, and purple colors, to the standard red round cherry. They are all good, too, making them a reliable, flavorful tomato. This was a hit at a recent birthday party, and I have four containers in the freezer for the months ahead. Enjoy Melissa’s summer bounty. It'll be autumn before you know it.

Slow-Cooker Tomato Compote (adapted)
By Sarah DiGregorio

Yield About 3½ cups
6 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 pounds Melissa’s organic cherry or grape tomatoes (about 4 pints)
8 Melissa’s organic garlic cloves, smashed
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 bushy sprigs fresh herbs, such as rosemary, tarragon, thyme, sage, parsley or a mix (I used Italian parsley and thyme)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional) these added just a very slight kick at the end of you your bite
Kosher salt and black pepper
Juice of ¼ lemon (about 2 teaspoons)

Preparation:

In a 6 to 8 quart slow cooker or soup pot, add the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, honey, vinegar, herbs and red pepper flakes (if using), and stir to combine.

Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and a few generous grinds of pepper. Cook on low for 6 hours, until the tomatoes are wrinkled, sweet and very soft, and some have burst.

Remove the herb sprigs and squeeze in the lemon juice. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. It can be frozen for future use.
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