I completely missed the deadline for WTSIM… Dumpling! (#6) (Sorry Johanna!) And I was just about to miss the deadline for WTSIM… Sauce! (#7) too. But luckily for me (because WTSIM… is one of my favourite events), Andrew extended the deadline to the end of the month. So here I am, not late, not just in the nick of time, but EARLY with my post for
click on images for larger views and more photos of tomato sauce
Because I really did want to feature T’s really fabulous tomato sauce that we had with the first loaf of my wild yeast bread. The deceptively simple sauce (made from just tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, a bit of red wine and a few dried herbs) is intense and fruity – everything a tomato sauce should be and everything so many tomato sauces aren’t. And a perfect foil for the flavourful, ever so slightly sour rustic bread.
I often make tomato sauce using canned tomatoes and adding mushrooms, peppers, celery, carrots, etc. etc. It’s very good tomato sauce and perfect to go under stuffed manicotti. T, on the other hand, always uses fresh tomatoes to make tomato sauce. (I think maybe he doesn’t even know, or want to know, where the can opener is….) When we are going to have tomato sauce, especially when the sauce is going to be featured, both of us far prefer fresh over canned tomatoes.
T started with some good looking tomatoes that were on sale at the vegetable store. They were probably hothouse – it’s still just a little early in the season for field tomatoes.
Our favourite vegetable store always sells good looking produce. One of the reasons is that they have fast turn over. And they reduce the price on things that are going to go off. They package the sale items strategically on trays and stick $1.00 labels on each plastic wrapped package. (I’m not wild about taking the tray. I really do think those trays should be disallowed from being produced and/or sold. Our landfill is already beleaguered enough. But DON’T get me started! Let me get back to the tomato sauce….)
Now, where was I? Oh yes, the tomatoes. Once this sale package is unwrapped, the blemishes are revealed. But the flaws are usually small ones and because the tomatoes are going into a sauce, it really doesn’t matter. It’s simple to just cut away any ugly bits and use the good parts for the sauce that is slowly simmered until most of the liquid is evaporated.
The result is an intense deep red sauce that is killer good on barbecued chicken served with steamed cauliflower and good crusty bread.
Here’s what T did:
T’s Tomato Sauce with Olives & Capers
no real measurements here – use your judgement
- good shot of olive oil
- onion, chopped
- dried cayenne chili flakes
- dried oregano
- garlic, chopped
- ripe tomatoes, chopped
- splash red wine
- pinch sugar
- dried basil
- black pepper, freshly ground
- oil cured black olives
- fresh basil
- Heat olive oil in pan
- Add onion, dried cayenne chili flakes and dried oregano and saute til onions are soft.
- Add garlic and continue cooking til garlic is soft.
- Add chopped tomatoes (include seeds and skin), seasalt, a splash of red wine over low heat. Cover and cook til the tomatoes wilt.
- Uncover and allow to slowly simmer until the liquid has reduced. From time to time, stir and mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Taste and add a pinch sugar if you think it needs it.
- When the tomatoes have reduced to about half, add dried basil and continue to slowly simmer.
- When the sauce has reduced to almost a paste, stir in black pepper.
- Just before serving, add oil cured black olives and capers.
- Garnish with julienned fresh basil leaves.
Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! You really have to try this.
It puts me in mind of the movie adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s wonderful novel Shoeless Joe.
Is this heaven?
No. It’s our backyard.
I’m guessing that T’s fresh tomato sauce on barbecued chicken is what chicken cacciatore is supposed to be like. I’ve certainly never had anything like it before. I’m planning to have it many times again though…. Ooooh, and just imagine what it’s going to be like when the tomatoes in our garden actually ripen and we can use freshly picked vine ripened tomatoes! That really will be Heaven!
Entries for WTSIM… Sauce! are due
25 31 July 2007. Just under the wire, this is my post for WTSIM… Sauce! hosted by Andrew (Spittoon Extra).
Andrew has asked for a 100×100 photograph. Here it is. I hope it’s legible…
For more details about WTSIM… #7, please read:
Jeanne (Cook Sister!), Johanna The Passionate Cook and Andrew (Spittoon Extra) are the creators of this blogging event taking place each month in 2007. If you would like participate in the next WTSIM…, it will likely be announced in the WTSIM… Sauce! round up or soon after on Johanna’s, Jeanne’s and/or Andrew’s blogs.
edit 9 August 2007: Yay!! Andrew has posted the saucy round up!! Make sure you have your bib on and take a look!