Culinary Director Don Drake
At Magnolias restaurant in Charleston, S.C., Culinary Director Don Drake preps a big batch of tomato butter to enhance everything from pork chops to seafood and vegetables. He gives instructions for making the tomato butter recipe ahead and storing it in sterilized jars. A favorite of tomato-loving customers is a dish of fried green tomatoes served in a pool of garlicky tomato butter.
5 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp. chopped shallots
1/4 cup (or 6 oz. can) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp. sugar
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz. tomato reduction
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. For tomato reduction: Bring large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, core stems of tomatoes and slice a shallow “X” in bottom of each one.
2. Fill bowl with ice and water for ice bath and set next to stove. Working in batches, place several tomatoes into boiling water. When skins begin to split (after about 45 seconds to 1 minute), remove from pot with slotted spoon and place in ice bath to cool. Once tomatoes are cooled, remove from ice bath and place on cutting board. Continue to work in small batches until all tomatoes have been blanched and cooled.
3. Use fingers or a paring knife, remove outer skins. Discard skins and set tomatoes aside. Cut tomatoes in half around middle and give each a little squeeze to remove seeds and excess water. Roughly chop tomatoes. Cook reduction using stovetop or slow cooker method.
4. For stovetop method: In medium saucepot, place olive oil; heat over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots; saute about 5 minutes, being sure not to brown. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme and sugar. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 1 to 2 hours, stirring frequently until thick enough to coat back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside. Discard bay leaf.
5. For slow cooker method: Turn pot on high, add olive oil and allow to get hot. Add garlic and shallots and saute until tender. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and sugar. Turn temperature to low and place lid on top, but slightly off to the side to allow moisture to escape. Cook for 6 to 10 hours or until mixture coats back of a spoon. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Set aside to cool.
6. For tomato butter, in saucepot, combine tomato reduction and heavy cream. Bring to high simmer; cook until reduced until thickened. Turn heat to low and slowly whisk in cubed butter, one piece at a time. Remove from heat and keep warm. Check for seasoning.
7. To can reduction for later use: While reduction is cooling, place large stockpot on stove and fill 3/4 of the way full with water. Place jars and lids in to soften. Remove jars from water and towel dry. Ladle tomato reduction into jars leaving 1/2-inch space from top. Attach lids and tighten. Slowly lower jars into water and process jars for 15 minutes. Remove jars from water and allow to cool on a towel on top of counter. Store in a cool, dark place and date jars.