2005: In the years I was digging my roots as a cook, I had the great fortune to move to Texas - the good luck having zero to do with Texas itself and everything to do with the fact that my mother's best friend from grade school lived all of two miles away. Phyllis and her husband tucked me under their culinary bough and on occasion, I'd spend a Sunday on a stool in their kitchen, some times helping, mostly wide-eyed and soaking up the possibilities: I'd never heard of the stove-maker Viking, had never known a house with two ovens let alone a third, especially for warming.
So I have a whole collection of recipes bearing Phyllis' name. This is one. You'll see, it's not fancy food (though Phyllis would chide me for not blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins) but it is what I hope you think of as 'classic Alanna', simple food prepared well. .
The one requirement is really good tomatoes. If you're going to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, at least a sauce this simple, the tomatoes must-must be perfect. That said, my notes say that Phyllis also makes it from boxes of Pomi Tomatoes, a good choice when good tomatoes aren't available, as would be San Marzano tomatoes which I used to make Quick Tomato Sauce.
2010: This is simple, spare fare, an easy way to revel in summer tomatoes.
PHYLLIS' FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
Time to table: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large fresh garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, blanched and seeded first if desired, otherwise chopped in bite-size pieces
8 - 10 fresh basil leaves, washed, cut in slices
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream (reduced from Phyllis' 1 cup, I just didn't think it needed very much)
For garnish, freshly grated Parmesan (if you like but to my taste, 'just tomato' is perfect)
For garnish, a few more leaves of fresh basil
In a large skillet, heat the oil on MEDIUM HIGH till shimmery. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM, add the garlic and let sizzle a bit. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir to coat with fat and distribute the garlic. Let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, watching the heat so not to burn, til all the liquid is cooked off. Season to taste. Slowly stir in the cream, stirring to distribute. Let cook down a minute and warm completely through. Adjust seasoning.
Serve over pasta or fish. If desired, top with Parmesan and additional fresh basil.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
If you are in Phyllis' camp about removing the tomato skins, blanch the tomatoes first. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Wash the tomatoes and cut an X in the skin on the blossom end. (This is opposite the 'stem end'. Think about it, you'll know which is which!) Drop into the water for 60 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon. When the tomato is cool enough to handle, use a knife to slip off the skin and discard.
Don't skip the basil when making the sauce, it adds a dimension that is much missed if it's skipped.
~ Fire-Charred Tomatoes ~
~ Tossed Caprese Salad ~
~ Tomato Platter with Olives & Feta ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Shrimp with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ~
~ Summer's Tomato Soup ~
~ BLT for Pasta Salad ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column