I am finally using the tomatoes that I bought at the Berry Farm Market. It has taken awhile, but the whole thing with skinning, seeding, and chopping has caused me to put it off. Every time I peel a tomato I am reminded of my childhood. Remember when you were a kid and at Halloween they would blindfold you and make you stick your hands in icky things and tell you that they were brains, eyeballs, etc. The eyeballs were always peeled grapes. Well that is what I think of every time I peel a tomato, giant eyeballs :shudder:
Now, on to the giant eyeballs and gushing tomatoes that stain your white shirt and splatter your kitchen with tomato juice 🙂
Usually when I make tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes I peel the tomatoes by slicing a shallow “x” in the bottom of them and shocking them in hot water for about a minute and then put them in ice water. It works wonders and the peel comes off so easily. Well, I really didn’t want to bother with getting a pot of boiling water going, then having to use all the ice in my apartment. So I decided I would do what I haven’t done since my cooking lab in college. I peeled a tomato by hand with a pairing knife. The tomatoes were actually firm enough to where it didn’t take too long or cause a huge mess 🙂 .
The sauce turned out pretty nice. It has a sweetness from the fresh tomatoes, and the sautéed onions that caramelized a bit in the pan. The basil give it an added punch and just a nice freshness, especially since I used the basil that I grow on my porch 🙂
From The Professional Chef: The Culinary Institute of America 7th Ed., page 272
4 to 6 fl oz olive oil
8 oz diced onions
4 garlic cloves, minded or sliced very thin
7 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and chopped*
20 fl oz tomato purée**
1/2 cup torn or chopped basil leaves
salt and pepper, as needed
Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow pot over medium head. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they take on a light golden color, about 12 to 15 minutes
Add the garlic and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until there is a pleasing garlic aroma, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring from time to time, for about 45 minutes until a good sauce-like consistency develops.
Add the basil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary. The sauce is ready to finish now. It may be puréed through a food mill fitted with a coarse disk, or broken up with a whisk to make a rough purée, or left chunky.
*I just used whatever tomato is available at the market.
**If you are using good quality fresh tomatoes you may use them and exclude the purée