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Tomato Sauce


lisabobd
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I have been making a basic tomato for years, and a basic ingredient has always been onions. I recently tried omitting the onions and simply sauted garlic in olive oil with crushed red pepper then added good quality canned tomatos. Much to my surprise the sauce tasted fresher and was dominated more by a tomato flavor rather than onion. Would love to know what other tomato sauce makers think.

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I would suggest that if you added a fine dice of raw onion at the end--2 Tbsp or so--you get get much of the onion flavor, but it would retain the freshness. I've always equated the flavor of completely cooked off onion as a flavor in things that were stewed, etc, for a long time simply because onions take a while to cook off in my life of 20-30 minute meals.

Finishing with some fresh extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper and/or lemon juice would probably also lift the "fresh" of the flavor.

Caveat: I am not a chef. I anxiously await other opinions too.

My fave, though, is one my S.O. doesn't like. Cook down approx .5 pound of diced tomatoes in ~3-4 Tbsp butter with a little salt and 2-3 Tsp cracked black pepper. Top fresh pasta with this and some choppped parsley. That says fresh to me!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Basic tomato sauce:

pure olive oil, finely diced onions, minced garlic, canned roma tomatoes (that have been seeded and diced medium) and parsley sprigs tied in a bunch. Salt and black pepper. Simmer for an hour.

A tomato sauce should taste like tomatoes.

Like all sauces, it's only as good as it's worst ingredent.

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My Maltese Uncle Lely (short for Emmanuel - who knew?), who is a legendary cook, never puts onion in his tomato sauce. Garlic, yes. I'm loving the idea of lemon peel, though!

A revelation I've come to lately is not to add black pepper (to anything, not just tomato sauce) until the very end. It loses something and goes dusty.

Fi Kirkpatrick

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I with you - I find onions mask the taste of great tomatoes.

Good oil. Garlic. Tomatoes. A pinch of chili.

Maybe a sprinkle of parsley at the end.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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What about less conventional additives? I've heard or read people advising sugar or orange juice, in the first case to offset the acidity, and orange juice, I guess, to improve flavor. Do they work?

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I like to get different tastes or textures from my sauce. So if I want it a little sweeter, I sometimes add a little sugar or a little carrot. If I want it spicier, I add some extra red pepper flakes. Sometimes I puree the sauce, sometimes I use a potato masher.

I haven't seen anyone mention vinegar or wine as an additive either, but I like the kick that gives sometimes.

I know these probably aren't traditional, but they all work.

Bill Russell

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My mother-in-law's sauce called for diced onions along with garlic. Over the years, I have omitted the onions, and no one noticed. She had also used sugar in hers; I think to offset the acidity of the tomato brand she used. I have found that omitting the sugar also has not had any effect. Herbs are fresh parsely and oregano. I usually make a meat-based sauce, frying cheese and parsley sausage in the same pot prior to starting the sauce. Depending on what the sauce is being poured over, I sometimes add cracked red pepper to spice it up. My kids sneak by the pot when it's simmering and add more. That makes for some spicy sauce!

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My (Austrian) Grandmother's way to make tomato sauce is as follows:

make a roux from flour and butter; medium brown.

add chopped parsley and cook a little

add tomatoes.

Cook and add salt and pepper and a little sugar to taste.

Although the ingredients are simple; this has quite a different taste than italian tomato sauces. I've only made this with fresh tomatoes. It goes great with stuffed green peppers.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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