This is what our tomatoes looked like in July. Cute and plump and smooth, they were. We ate them like plums, one after another. We speckled them with sea salt. We poured Sriracha-sauced libations in honor of the tomato deity–if there is one. We were straight-up, tomato-eating fools in the back yard.
Summer ended. We stopped hanging out in the backyard. Snacking on tomatoes ceased. Instead, when I arrived home from work, I rushed to pick tomatoes as they blushed or while they were still green. They piled up on the window sill as they ripened.
Most were fine but mishapen. Several became quite overripe. A few were blemished, cat-faced horrors. I was clinging to the romance of sauce from homegrown tomatoes, so I used these mostly good, but past-their-prime tomatoes for sauce. Some of the fruits were frightful, but I managed to make sauce that was frightfully good.
Mise en place–the shallot, garlic, pepper, rosemary, and bay leaves
Saute the aromatics (shallots, and garlic) in olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper.
Parboil tomatoes for 5 minutes or until you see the skins begin to wrinkle; stop the cooking by removing tomatoes from the boil with a slotted spoon and placing each in a bowl of ice water. When they are cool enough to handle, hand-peel each tomato and place on a clean cutting board. Chop roughly. (Try to save the juice that runs out of the tomatoes. You’ll want to add it to the sauce.) Discard tomato stems.
Puree tomatoes in a blender until all chunks of tomato disappear (or puree less for a chunky sauce). Add puree and Crema di Balsamico to a 10-inch sauce pan. If you can’t find Crema di Balsamico in your local gourmet store, Amazon offers several brands.
Add herbs and spices and simmer for 30 minutes. Add rest of salt and more cracked pepper. Stir periodically. Remove bay leaves before serving.
This Frightfully Good Tomato Sauce makes enough for 4 servings of pasta or for saucing 4 servings of fish.