by The Culinistas
Pantry staples, we know you’ve got them. But as quarantine lingers, inspiration putters out. Which is why we’re sharing five ways to use that can of crushed tomatoes you’ve been passing by in your pantry.
Tomato Baked Feta
One of our all time favorite appetizers is also one of our easiest. We sweat shallots in rosemary oil until they’re translucent, then add tomato paste, cayenne and onion powder. In your case, use crushed tomatoes and cook them all the way down until dark and caramelized. Then, deglaze with sherry vinegar, pour the mixture over a block of feta, and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. The feta becomes creamy and spreadable and your acid-forward tomato mixture brings a balanced brightness. Enjoy atop a toasted baguette or any other crusty bread.
Chili is the ultimate comfort food, and you’ll certainly need a can of tomatoes to make it. Follow our chili recipe here, if you don’t have navy beans on hand, pinto, kidney, and even chickpeas would be delicious. Celery root can be replaced with turnip, sweet potato, fennel, or parsnip. Chili is easy, so if you’re looking for a project to go alongside, try making your own skillet cornbread.
Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern baked egg dish, and one of our favorite ways to enjoy breakfast for dinner. It starts by sautéing onions, garlic, and red peppers with spices (cumin, cayenne, and za’atar would be our picks). Crushed tomatoes enter the pan stage left and after about ten minutes of cook time, eggs descend to the spotlight. The whole pan is popped in the oven until the egg whites are cooked through, but yolks remain runny. Shakshuka is best served with some sort of flatbread or pita for soaking up the sauce and yolk. Happy dipping!
Nothing beats a bowl of tomato soup (ok, maybe a bowl of tomato soup with an accompanying grilled cheese). Our favorite ingredient in tomato soup is a parmesan rind. It gives the soup a creamy, slightly funky, umami flavor and a reason to save, rather than toss your last bits of parm. We suggest adding your rind when you add your onion, canned tomatoes, and spices. Let everything simmer together and remove it before adding water and blending.
Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal seafood stew with a brothy tomato base. To start, we sweat fennel or onion in spices, followed by tomato and after a few minutes of cook time, clams (if you’re lacking, stay clam; mussels are a great sub). When your shellfish of choice have steamed, shrimp, squid, and flaky white fish join the party. Enjoy topped with herbs, your fennel fronds, and a snappy white like vernaccia.