Monday, September 14, 2009

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I didn't take any pictures of the tomato sauce I made on Saturday, but I thought I'd post about it regardless, since it was fairly delicious. Anna brought home a little over 2.5 lbs of tomatoes from her mother's garden in Maine... all heirlooms if I'm remembering correctly, and perfectly ripe.

I haven't completely bought in to the idea that if you have fresh garden tomatoes you should make a "no-cook" sauce... I've only made a no-cook sauce once, but it seems to me to be a completely different experience then a traditional sauce... and an experience I'm not sure I really love... too much like a pasta salad. I'm also not sold on the idea that fresh tomatoes are "wasted" when simmered down into a sauce, and my experience cooking with Anna's mother's tomatoes bears that out.

It was the simplest of recipes, which you expect to showcase the ingedients. I have a food mill, so I just quartered the tomatoes... except with the larger heirlooms, where I cut them into ~3/4" wedges to keep the pieces all the same size. With these tomatoes at least, it took more like 45 minutes (20-30 minutes is quoted in the recipe) to get all the liquid out and break down the flesh. I food milled them from a large sauté pan, where they could more efficiently reduce, into a sauce pan for the final seasoning. I waited to put the chiffonade of basil until after I had milled the sauce and Anna suggested some balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavors... which I have to say it worked quite well.

Because of the heirlooms the sauce was orange, not red, but I have to say I found it quite fetching nonetheless. We poured it over some of Dave's fresh ravioli, which we really need to pickup more often.

In other cooking news, I was inspired enough by Bittman's variant of "chicken and 40 cloves of garlic" to try the original. I usually like to make the classic before I make an "inspired by" version... though I am sorely tempted by Bittman's seasoning choices... I should make that New Best Recipe version tonight or tomorrow.