For The Kinfolk Table (Artisan Books, 2013), author Nathan Williams has traveled the world, collecting recipes from a wide-ranging circle of home cooks who are both reinventing and rediscovering the joy of casual entertaining. Williams takes us into the home of each of these contributors — chefs, bakers, writers, bloggers, artisans, and artists — capturing what makes them each remarkable, and drawing out the rituals and traditions that bring loved ones to share their table. The following burnt tomatoes recipe comes from William Hereford and Alyssa Pagano of Brooklyn.
From William: Burnt tomatoes have been included in every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner since before I was born. Ironically, I hated them for a good bit of my childhood, simply because the dish looked sophisticated and grown-up. Though a Virginia native, I went to college in Maine and currently live in Brooklyn, so my Southern drawl has dwindled over the years. My mother’s has not. I will always remember her politely demanding "more bernt tamatas, please."
Burnt Tomatoes Recipe
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 6 pounds vine-ripe tomatoes
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus additional as needed
• 1 tablespoon sugar
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with the butter.
2. Slice the tomatoes 1/2 inch thick and season with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a large plate and dredge the tomato slices, shaking off the excess.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Fry the tomato slices in batches, adding as many to the skillet as will fit in a single layer, about 3 minutes per side, or until they turn crisp and golden. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the tomatoes to the prepared baking dish, arranging them in a single layer.
4. Sprinkle the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the sugar.
5. Repeat the frying procedure with additional tomatoes, adding more oil as needed. If the flour sediment begins to burn, discard the oil, wipe out the pan, and heat fresh oil before continuing.
6. Sprinkle the second layer of tomatoes with another teaspoon of the sugar, repeat the tomato frying and layering procedure, and finish with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
7. Bake the tomatoes for 1 hour or until soft and bubbling. Transfer the dish to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Serve.
Excerpted from The Kinfolk Table by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2013. Photographs by Parker Fitzgerald.