Time to make a fresh tomato sauce. But you will also learn how to make tomato powder of the skins that is normally wasted.
I always have the same decision to make at this time of year. What to do with our surplus of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to grow. I think they are almost sensual. If you can say that about a vegetable. Ruby red and juicy with a sweet, pleasant taste. It’s not surprising that it used to be called pomme d’amour (love apple in french).
You can say that a handful of tomatoes is like a love relationship. The most magnificent thing in the world.
If they taste anything.
Otherwise, the relationship becomes somewhat strained.
I know that scientists claim that the reason for tasteless tomatoes is due to a loss gene.
But I think it also depends on the long cold shipments. And maybe because they are sometimes harvested too early. Therefore, I grow my own tomatoes.
But that is not possible during winter. At least not here in Sweden.
But I have plans to grow them indoors instead. I shouldn’t be impossible.
I will be back with reports.
Most of the space in my greenhouse is occupied with tomato plants.
Which means that I always have a surplus of ripe tomatoes as the season nears its end.
This year I harvested the last tomatoes at the end of October, but there were many green unripe left. So I cut off the plants and hang them indoors in a sunny window to let the last green ones ripen. That means that I still have a lot of tomatoes, even if it’s in the middle of November.
We can never eat all these tomatoes, so I always have to do something else with most of them.
This year I thought that a pasta sauce would be a good idea. A deluxe tomato pasta sauce. Or maybe a pizza sauce?
Everybody knows of course that you can’t use pasta sauce on pizza.
You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
There is a huge risk that ITFAFA (Italian Task Force Aginst Food Abuse) will break into your house and blow up your stove. You risk being subjected to harsh interrogation, where waterboarding with your pizza dough may occur.
They will also place a curse on you that will include instant sickness, mental illness and nightmares about moldy mozzarella and a three-legged goat.
I think I go for a neutral tomato sauce. A fresh tomato sauce.
For this recipe, I will peel the tomatoes. Some claim that it’s not necessary, and sometimes I tend to agree.
If I’m doing a smoothly mixed version, I think it’s ok to use the tomatoes with the skin. You won’t notice the difference in the end product anyhow. But if I do the sauce chunky I think it’s a small disaster not to peel them.
All these nasty little bits of skin swimming around on the surface (always on the surface) can make me severely depressed.
They add nothing valuable, just some unpleasant consistency.
This time I will make a semi-chunky style sauce, so the peeling process is necessary.
But I would have done it anyhow. I have plans for those skins. Just wait and see.
Peeling a tomato is quite easy. Just score an X on the bottom of each tomato and dip them in boiling water for 20-30 seconds.
Immediately transfer them to a bowl with cold water. After a few seconds, it should be easy to drag or rub off the skin.
But don’t throw away the skin.
In most cases, I don’t seed the tomatoes. There are far to much taste in the gel, surrounding the seeds.
Some claim that the seeds add bitterness to the sauce, something I have never noticed. If you crush a seed between your teeth, yes it’s bitter. But that goes for many other dishes as well. I don’t think the seed itself add any bitterness to the sauce.
The idea of this sauce is to boil the major part of the tomatoes together wit onion and garlic until only a third remains. In this recipe, I have also added a small amount of fresh rosemary. But that’s optional.
When most of the water has evaporated, you should have a thick puree with a lot of taste. To get some freshness back to the sauce I’m adding the remaining part of the tomatoes and let it boil for 5 minutes.
That should be just enough to soften the pulp a bit, and you will have a sauce that is full of taste but still with some chunky freshness.
The last thing to do before removing from the heating is to add some chopped basil. You may also add some salt, pepper and maybe some sugar if desired.
Now you have a basic fresh tomato sauce that can be used in a variety of recipes. Or, why not just mix it with som high-quality spaghetti. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Just don’t put it on your pizza. At least not if there are any Italiens around.
But what about the skins? This is a simple but great recipe I found at Serious eats.
Spread them out on some paper towels and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Be sure that they don’t overlap each other.
Microwave on full effect for 4 minutes. Then continue in 30 minutes intervals until the skins are completely dry and crumble if you pinch them.
Grind them together with salt and sugar to a fine powder. Store it in an airtight container.
Sprinkle it over all kinds of food, like mozzarella, pasta or why not your french fries.