July 22, 2010

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Our neighbor Brian has a beautiful garden in a somewhat abandoned lot in our neighborhood and after a few summers building it us, this season has really been a plentiful harvest for him evidenced by the fact that last night he picked more than 120 tomatoes...yes, I said one-hundred-twenty tomatoes. And us, being his lucky neighbor, got about 30 of those plump ripe tomatoes. YUM.

I knew I had to make something delicious today, not only because I had the day off, but because with those tomatoes getting softer by the second they were literally calling my name. Fresh tomato sauce? I think so.

I sort of invented my own recipe, I mean it's a basic tomato sauce, how hard can it be? Well, it's not hard, just a bit time consuming, although totally, and I mean totally, worth every second of it. If I could make tomato sauce like this for every dish I would in a heartbeat. It's that good.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

12-14 ripe plum tomatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
15 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Blanch the tomatoes:
Prep a large pot of water and turn up the heat until it boils: also have ready a large bowl with ice water in it. Make sure the tomatoes are clean, and then hollow out the stem/core, then flip the tomatoes on end and make small X's on the bottom. This will allow the skin to be peeled right off. Immerse 5-6 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water, only keeping them in there for 30-40 seconds or until you see the skin begin to peel away. Remove at once from the boiling water and place in the water bath. This shocks the tomatoes and stops them from cooking, allowing for the skin to be easily peeled off and ready for seeding. Continue blanching the tomatoes until all are prepped and peel away all of the skin.

Seed the tomatoes:
Place a sieve over a large bowl. Working with one tomato at a time, run your fingers along the inside of the fruit, releasing the juice/seeds. The sieve will catch the seeds while allowing the juice to run through which later will be added back into the sauce.

Prepare the sauce:
In a large pot, you can use the same one you blanched the tomatoes in, heat the olive oil and crushed garlic until the fragrance of the garlic is potent and the garlic itself is turning golden. Add in the tomatoes along with their juice, basil, dried herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring every so often until the tomatoes are broken down and the sauce is a hearty red. With a hand emulsifier, puree the sauce until smooth.

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