Friday, August 1, 2014

Black Krim & Basil Tomato Sauce


So, besides our farmer's markets the star of this week is the tomato. Laura posted yesterday about some of the wonderful health benefits and nutrients tomatoes have to offer us and our bodies. One of the farmers at Morningside Market told my husband and me about a specific heirloom tomato that is a favorite of his -- the black krim tomato and a wonderful, rich tomato sauce that they make with them. He said black krims are hands-down his favorite tomatoes to eat and he waits all year until they're in season. I was sold as soon as I heard him say that. We bought 5 black krims. I figured I would make the sauce the farmer told me about and see how I liked them. Needless to say, the next week I feverishly searched the list of ingredients for the upcoming week at the market to make sure they would have more black krim tomatoes. My husband and I went bright and early and bought 15+ that week. These tomatoes really stand on their own, and I don't even love tomatoes. I remember my grandmother biting into tomatoes like an apple when I was a little girl and I remember wondering how she could like them so much. I found myself lightly dusting some salt on them this week and biting into these tomatoes, eating it the same way. There is a hint of a smoky flavor along with it's bold taste that draws you in. It makes you want to take one more bite to see just what that flavor is and to enjoy the taste. As soon as I tasted them I quickly began dreaming of what dishes I would be able to make with these beauties-- BLT's, tomato and burrata salad for picnics, gazpacho, and salsas that would build upon that smokey flavor. I did make the tomato sauce Farmer Mark told us about and I cannot even describe this tomato sauce. I have another pot simmering on my stove right now as I type and I can't wait to enjoy the velvety, rich, and deep flavors this evening for dinner over our farmer's market baked spaghetti squash topped with fresh corn and basil from our yard. One of the delightful aspects of this sauce is that it is by far the easiest tomato sauce I've ever made with fastest labor time. No cutting x's on the bottom and blanching them or roasting. I've done all of those methods, and as great as it makes you feel to slave over sauce like an Italian grandmother the taste doesn't even compare to this sauce. The simplicity of this recipe really exalts the ingredients and allows them to speak for themselves in a simple, non-pretentious way while making them look and taste nothing short of glorious. The only thing to keep in mind is that this does simmer on the stove for a few hours. You will almost forget it's there except for the smell drifting through your home. This is a wonderful sauce to make for company or your husband. When my husband tasted it that night I was wondering if he would politely wonder where the meat is. Instead he paused and said, "Danielle, this is the very best tomato sauce I've ever tasted in my life!"  That type of response along with knowing the valuable nutrients you're feeding yourself and your family makes for a lot of satisfaction in cooking up such a wonderful, nutrient-dense meal for your family. We served it over spaghetti squash from our farmer's market and topped it with fresh corn off the cob also from the market garnished with the basil from our garden. It would be delightful with fresh pasta as well. I know I will be making big batches and filling mason jars, stocking up on this sauce to freeze for the coming winter months! Enjoy! 



Ingredients: 
4-5 black krim tomatoes
1/3 cup of either olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion 
4 cloves of garlic
15 leaves of basil 
Water to cover the tomatoes half way
Few dashes of Cayenne
Salt + Pepper 



Directions:
Prepare your ingredients: core your tomatoes (*but leave the skin on*), chop your onion. (you can either dice it or slice your onion into slivers. The onions will cook down immensely, so it doesn't matter how you chop them. As for the garlic- just chop it, don't mince it.)
Heat the olive oil and/or coconut oil in either a deep cast iron or enamel dutch oven. After the oil is warmed, sautee the onions for a few minutes. (This will take at least 5 minutes. You want to develop a rich flavor by cooking the onions down without burning them of course.) Just before the onions are finished cooking add the garlic to the pot to sautee for a minute. Don't let the garlic brown.
Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes-- you can use black pepper as well.
After the onions and garlic have been cooked down for a minute (without browning or burning) place the tomatoes that have been cored, cored side up, in the pot.
Fill with pot with filtered water so that it reaches just below the half way point of the tomatoes.
This will end up being about 1-1 1/2 inches of water. 
Sprinkle with salt and pepper once more.
Cover and simmer for 5-7 hours.
Half way through the cooking process, turn the tomatoes in the pot, putting the core side down.
If you are in a rush, it can be cooked in as little as two hours, but I highly suggest the longer cooking times to develop all of the flavors of the sauce. Either way it will be delicious.
5 minutes before the sauce is finished, add in the chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with salt and a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
At this point, I take my immersion blender and blend a few times in the pot to ensure all of the tomatoes have broken down and to develop that velvety feel. If you do not have an immersion blender, you could use a food processor or blender. You may have to blend in batches here and there, but it will be lovely any way.
Taste for seasoning. You might want to add some dried oregano and or a few drizzles of olive oil if you are used to the jarred tomato sauces.
You can garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve over a bed of spaghetti squash or pasta. Our favorite way to enjoy this black krim tomato sauce is to serve it over spaghetti squash with fresh corn off the cob and green bell pepper on top garnished with fresh basil. Sometimes we even add a few links of fresh Italian sausage from the Farmer's Market as well. 
enjoy




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