This is not the best tomato season I’ve ever seen but it’s not the worst either. The first few tomatoes were pretty sad looking but as summer has progressed they are looking much better. As is often the case, the wild volunteer plants are the healthiest and most productive. Every few days there are enough ripe tomatoes to make into a sauce. The sauce I made today is chock full of my favorite ingredients:
- lime juice
- turbinado sugar
- bay leaf
- French tarragon
It started with pouring boiling water over the tomatoes and peeling them.
The peeled tomatoes were cooked at medium high heat without adding any water. As they were cooking in their own juices the tomatoes were broken up with a spoon. Kosher salt was added and a little turbinado sugar. The heat was lowered and the sauce simmered for more than an hour without a lid.
The dried herbs were then added and the sauce continued to simmer and reduce.
When much of the liquid had cooked off I used a hand blender to break up any remaining tomato solids and get an even consistency, then forced the sauce through a strainer to remove the seeds.
Thickly sliced mushrooms were dry sautéed in a nonstick skillet rubbed with a few drops of olive oil for a light film on the surface of the pan.
When the mushrooms had stopped exuding moisture and had browned they were added into the tomato sauce.
Chopped onion, garlic, celery, jalapeño (minus seeds), and minced cayenne pepper (minus the seeds) were sautéed with olive oil and added into the sauce. I didn’t use a lot of olive oil but I tend to be more generous when it comes to tomato dishes since I heard many years ago that olive oil brings out the lycopene in tomatoes.
The acidity was adjusted with lime juice and turbinado sugar, and salt was added as needed.
To make this tomato sauce extra special I added cracked green Mediterranean olives and a few capers. I’m sure there are other things that could have been included in this sauce. Aubergine comes to mind, but that should probably be a separate sauce.
Once everything was added I let the sauce simmer another 5 minutes and transferred it into a jar. I look forward to using this sauce more than once in the next week or two.