Day 2: Kale with Roasted Tomato Sofrito

Kale with Roasted Tomato Sofrito

Kale in (non Cuban, Domincan, Puerto Rican, or Spanish…but Italian) Roasted Tomato Sofrito

I’m pretty long winded.  It’s a quality that you might see in many of my posts.  I like to say that James Joyce inspires me.  I think the want to describe everything comes from my excitement of everything food.  I’m trying to share with you in the short amount of space all the information that I find interesting  and I won’t be confined by logic, editing, or the Modern Language Associations’ militaristic rule.  Ok, the last part just comes from some repressed anger that I put away since my college English education.  All kidding aside, the reality is that I love to talk about food.

One of the really cool things about working in the restaurant industry is the ability to learn about ingredients, techniques, and tools to combine flavors, textures, and colors.  The last four years have been an amazing experience, teaching me about dishes that I would normally not be able to try or have the time to even enjoy. And if, as a reader, you think it’s awkward how long I ramble about a dish, you should feel sorry for the guest I am describing a dish to. When I first started in the industry, I used to spend a long time explaining a dish or an ingredient, pouring my heart out with descriptors, flavor profiles, history, and emotion.  It was awkward, I’m sure, for the guest because they just wanted to know a simple thing about a component of our pizza.

“What is sofrito?”

“Well sir, our sofrito is an Italian style sofrito.  Nothing like the Cuban sofrito, which is sautéed garlic, onions, and green bell peppers, or the Puerto Rican sofrito, which has roasted red peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and cubanelle, peppers. No, ours is Italian in style.  Vegetarian too, not like the Spanish or Dominican one that usually has meat in it.  So, what we do with ours is we slow roast some tomatoes in thyme and garlic to allow the flavors to condense and pop.  This is really important because, although we can all get tomato year round, its season is still very short.  By roasting the tomatoes on low we’re slowly evaporating the water to condense the sweet flavor in the actual fruit.  After that, we sauté mirepoix in some olive oil on medium high heat.  Mirepoix is a French culinary term for a combination of celery, carrots, and onions.  These are the basis for most dishes and give it a great umami flavor.  I won’t even try to describe umami to you, but here is my card.  Check out my post on umami on my blog, http://www.brb-eating.com.  Now, back to our ITALIAN sofrito.  After we sauté the mirepoix…sir, are you still with me?  So, after we sauté the mirepoix, we then add the chopped up tomatoes and add some red wine.  We let that reduce into a paste and voila, sofrito.  And to go back to your question as to what sofrito is; It’s usually used as a base for sauces, stews, beans.”

“I’ll just have the brisket.”

Alright, so it probably didn’t really play out like that, but it probably was very close.  I’ve been able to adapt the elevator pitch concept to our menu now and can talk about sofrito like no other person at work.  So in case you ever wanted to know about a dish at work, feel free to ask.  Just make sure you tell me if you want the Joycean version or the annotated version.  You may never get a chance to order.

Note: this recipe will give you extra sofrito to freeze or refrigerate for later.


3 plum tomatoes or medium sized tomatoes, halved

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 medium cloves of garlic, sliced

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup carrot, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup medium body red wine (I used Tempranillo (which is NOT Italian, but Spanish…shall I get started on talking about this? )

2 large bunches of kale, stems removed (or any dark, sturdy leafy green)

2 tbs broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)

1 tbs butter


preheat oven to 250°f

mix tomatoes, 1 tbs of the oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and lay out on a baking dish

roast tomatoes until skin begins to shrink and turn slightly brown, about 3 hours

sauté carrots, celery, onion on medium heat in a shallow pan with the remaining oil until

“sweated”, about 7 minutes

add contents of the baking dish, garlic and thyme included, and the wine and simmer on

medium-low heat until reduced completely, about 15 minutes

remove sofrito from pan and put 3 tbs in a large dutch oven on medium-high heat

add kale and sauté until greens begin to wilt

finish with broth and butter and stir until liquid begins to evaporate

add salt and pepper to taste

-serves 5-


1 Response to “Day 2: Kale with Roasted Tomato Sofrito”

  1. 1 juyeon
    January 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I love kale! 🙂

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