- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 8 cups tomatoes, cut into chunks, canned whole tomatoes are fine, homemade canned tomatoes are great too
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 slices white bread
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
About this recipe
Don’t even think about confusing these tomatoes with what you can buy in a can. The two tastes are entirely different. This is an old recipe that came from when times were tough and every dish had to be stretched. This is one occasion when stretching the dish turned out to be delightful. What’s really great about these tomatoes is how versatile they are. I routinely use them as a sauce for grilled fish as well as a side dish. Pulse them in a food processor and add some fresh oregano for a light summer pasta sauce. Fabulous for a potluck supper or picnic. This is a must-try recipe.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook onions until nicely browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In another saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the canola oil. When the butter is foaming, add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
Stir in the onion and white sugar and cook for 15 minutes longer. Add bread and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides (UNC Press)