Saturday, July 17, 2010

speaking of tomatoes

Had a chance to make a day trip to Sag Harbor on Long Island this week and I made sure to visit two of my favorite farmstands out there: Zaluski Farms on Scuttle Hole Road in Bridgehampton and the insanely fabulous Marilee Foster's farmstand on Sagg Main Road in Sagaponac.  

I bought lots of tomatoes, naturally, and had in mind another recipe that, like gazpacho, makes use of the wealth of the season. Fresh Tomato Sauce is what I dream of all winter long. It can be made with all the gnarly tomatoes that are not pretty enough to make it into a salad. 
Cut the tomatoes into rough cubes and put them in a bowl with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt. Thinly slice a small onion, or in this case I used a fresh shallot from Zaluski Farm's, and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Let the onion-tomato mixture marinate together for at least 1/2 hour to allow the juices to flow and mingle as the salt works its magic.

Heat a saute pan with at least half a cup of good extra virgin olive oil and add sliced garlic cloves ( I use one clove per tomato as a rough guide). Simmer the garlic till golden.
Add the onion tomato mixture to the pan and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes until the onions soften and the tomatoes break down.
Finish with some chopped basil. The sauce will have a velvety rich flavor and is DELICIOUS over pasta or as a condiment or sauce for sandwiches, eggs, anything! Soooooo good and it will keep in the fridge for several days, but once you taste it be prepared for it to disappear quickly (then make more!)

In my quest to begin to eat as naturally and as minimally processed as possible, I decided that this summer, I will make huge batches of tomato sauce and freeze it for use throughout the year. Until next summer's fresh abundance of tomatoes. Deb - do you think this is a sauce that would freeze well? It certainly looks delicious! It would also probably be an exquisite topping for a grilled pizza.

Sangiovese is always a perfect choice for anything with tomato sauce. It happens to be an all-around food-friendly wine, but goes particularly well with dishes with tomato-based sauces. Since we pair wines according to sauces rather than the main component of a dish, a Sangiovese would be terrific no matter how you use Deb's recipe - with eggs, on pasta, pizza, or a sandwich.

Sangiovese is the main varietal for such wines as Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. "Super-Tuscan" blends also use this versatile varietal, like Tignanello and Sassicaia. When young, Sangiovese will have fresh, fruity flavors of strawberries combined with a bit of earth and spice. The grape can produce quite robust wines, which make it a natural complement to hearty foods as well.

Inexpensive Sangiovese and moderately-priced Chianti are easy to come by. However, Brunello di Montalcino is a Tuscan wine made from the same grape but will be much pricier. Sangiovese is the only varietal allowed to be used for Brunello. Typically a Brunello will offer dark fruit flavors like black cherry and black raspberry, along with chocolatey flavors, leather notes and tar. While delicious, these wines are expensive and I reserve them for special occasions and meals. I wouldn't be enjoying one with pizza....

For a pasta dish, pizza, or sandwich utilizing Deb's sauce, I would go opt for an inexpensive wine such as Di Majo Norante Sangiovese which is delicious and retails for about $8.99. The wine is smooth, lush and juicy and will complement dishes such as eggplant parmigiana, pizza, and grilled vegetables as well.


  1. Yes, I believe this sauce should freeze just fine!

  2. ooooh man...I'm dyin! Those tomatoes are the very best in the entire world! I remember one summer, after a whole day at the beach, driving to one of the stands with all the kids and we ate two buckets of cherry tomatoes on the way home. Sweeeeeeeeet memories!! Thanks for the sauce...I'm making it tonight with some of my fresh basil!!


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