Friday, January 14, 2011

Much Ballyhoo

I tried this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It looked too simple to live up to the hype, and I think it is. Tomato, onion, butter. Well, that's a good start, and I will definitely use it for assorted other things, maybe with some mushrooms, or a little sausage added. Or some fresh herbs. Maybe a clove of garlic, because garlic and tomatoes were born for each other. Maybe next time I will mince the onion and caramelize it in the butter first, then cook in the tomatoes, something.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this recipe. It's just a little meh. I read the recipe and the commentary led me to expect a ravishing experience. I expected to swoon, and did not. It's true, I can think of several reasons why this sauce might not have lived up to expectation. I used the cheapest tomatoes in the store, for one, and some canned tomatoes are actually better than others. My onion was a little old, for another. I will try this recipe again, because beyond the fact that I just want to be sure that it really is the recipe, and not me, which is at fault, the sauce does have a very nice texture.

For the record, here's what I did:

1 28-oz can of Fred Meyer crushed tomatoes
2 small yellow onions
5 tablespoons salted butter

Since the original instructions say to use whole tomatoes and cook them down, rather than using crushed, I added about half a can of water to the tomatoes. The idea was to increase the water content to counteract the tendency of crushed tomatoes to start out nearly as thick as you want them to end up. More water = more cooking time. More cooking time = more flavor. Anyway, I put the tomatoes, the butter, and the peeled, halved onions in a sauce pot and simmered them for an hour or so, until the sauce had reduced to an appealing consistency. It is what it is.

Maybe I should have put in a bit more salt? Maybe I need better tomatoes? Garlic? Who knows.

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