It’s tomato season. My favorite. Well, stone fruit too. But tomato season is a close second to cherries and nectarines. The best thing about tomatoes in my humble opinion is the variety: the types and all the many things you can do with those lovely types. Pineapple, yellow, orange, cherry, juliet, plum, grape, purple cherokee, early girl, and oh so many more…
This weekend I bought 25 pounds of tomatoes from a farmer at the market selling his #2s for super cheap. This box is huge. The first thing I’m doing with the tomatoes is a very basic tomato sauce. I make a ton of it and stick it in the freezer. When it’s time to defrost throughout the year, I mix them up and make it different each time. I’ll attempt to do different variations here to keep track of along the way. So here we go with the first 6 pounds…
When I left for college sophomore year, I moved into my first apartment. I may have mentioned this before, but that summer I was home for a couple of weeks and my mother and I spent that time on the basics in the kitchen. One of those basics, was tomato sauce: with ripe tomatoes, with canned tomatoes, with herbs, and several other variations. While this is the base for most of the other tomato sauces I make, there are a couple that start differently too. This first tomato sauce is seriously the most basic- no minced garlic, no wine, no herbs. There are 2 different ways that i like to do this one.
Basic Tomato Sauce (the base for all else…)
6 lb tomatoes, quartered
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, whole and bruised with the back of your knife
1-2 bay leaves
Saute the onions and carrots in 2 TBSP olive oil until soft. Do not let brown. Add the quartered tomatoes and whole garlic cloves (for a more garlicky sauce, chop and add a little later- but I do that as a variation from the jar of this plain stuff). Cover partially and cook over low-medium heat until completely soft, about 45 minutes-1 hour. Now you have 3 options:
Another option, if you don’t have a food mill and don’t like the other options, is to peel and seed the tomatoes first. How to Peel a Tomato!Do this by boiling a large pot of water. Drop a few tomatoes in the water and boil for just about 30 seconds.
Remove, and dunk into cold water. The skin should come off easily.Cut the tomato in half across the equator and use your finger to dig out the seeds over a colander to reserve the juice. Cut into quarters and cook everything the same as above and blend at the end or food mill it up.