It's hard to improve on sweet summer tomatoes, but it's not impossible. Pack as many juicy tomatoes as possible into a simple compound butter and you have a versatile ingredient that you'll be able to hold onto long past these balmy months and into fall.
Tomato Butter: A Quick Way to Preserve Summer Tomatoes
While canning tomatoes is just fine, turning them into a compound butter might just be better. It takes no more than 10 minutes to do: Broil a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes and blend them in a food processor with softened butter. The result is a vibrant orange butter that can be frozen for up to three months — although I highly recommended tucking some in your refrigerator to use right now.
It's so good, you may find yourself reaching for your freezer stash sooner than you planned.
Ways to Enjoy Tomato Butter
- Tossed with cheese tortellini, ravioli, or any pasta for that matter.
- Stirred into risotto right before serving.
- Spread on toast and topped with arugula and a fried egg.
- Added to a simple piece of grilled fish, chicken, or steak so it melts over the top.
- Spread on warm biscuits, corn muffins, and popovers.
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Arrange an oven rack about 3 to 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the oven to broil. Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the skins begin to brown and the tomatoes start releasing their juice, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool to room temperature.
Combine the broiled tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 10 times, until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and add it to the food processor. Process until the butter is completely mixed in with the tomato mixture, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed for even blending.
The tomato butter can be used immediately or placed in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up first.
- Storage: Store leftover butter in the refrigerator in a covered dish or ramekin, or spooned onto plastic wrap or parchment paper and rolled into a log. When kept in the fridge, the butter is best when eaten within 1 week; it can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.