To avoid using sub-par tomatoes in the off-season, Minnick dries and reconstitutes her summertime harvest for topping pizzas year-round
“Now I work closely with just a few farmers, and I use whatever they bring me,” Minnick says. Whatever is working best determines the daily menu.
It’s been a while since it was socially acceptable among the chef circuit to use mediocre, out-of-season tomatoes on sandwiches and burgers. So why should pizza be any different?
While canned whole peeled tomatoes are a perfectly fine go-to for making sauce (Minnick likes to can local, organic Oregon tomatoes herself for this purpose), dehydrating a few pounds of fresh fruit is another way to get summery tomato flavor in the off-season.
“In late summer or early fall, I start putting up tomatoes for the rest of the year,” Minnick says. “I do can some for soups and pasta sauces, but I dehydrate the rest for pizza toppings because it really concentrates the flavor.” Later, she rehydrates the tomatoes by soaking them in hot water for about 10 minutes in order to plump them and release their aroma. This results in juicier, prettier, more flavorful tomatoes than any sundried version you can buy in a store.
You can use dehydrated tomatoes on any non-redsauce pie that could use a hit of sweetness and acid. “One of my favorite pizzas is topped with rehydrated tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and kale,” Minnick says.