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Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
January 13, 2011

A lovely celebration of the flavor of ripe, fresh tomatoes, provided you make a couple of small changes. One word was most likely omitted in the ingredients: Tomatoes should also be PEELED. If not, the peels separate and just become tough little indigestible bits. Before starting, simply blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, then shock in ice water. They'll slip out of their skins in a heartbeat this way. Then, seed and dice. This step represents a big sensory improvement. Alternatively, you can just quarter the unpeeled, unseeded tomatoes, cook as normal, then pass the whole thing through a food mill. This results in a completely smooth sauce. The food mill removes all the skins and seeds. If you want it chunky, however, you'll have to use the first procedure. Another exception I took to the recipe was that in order to retain as much of that burstingly, achingly fresh flavor that exclaims "summer,", only cook for 20-30 minutes at the barest simmer. Cooking for 2 hours will result in a major loss of the fresh taste and the bright red color. See accompanying picture for a the color and texture of what this looks like when quick-cooked. A feast for the eyes, as well as the palate. As basil loses much of its fresh flavor, color, and texture when cooked, be sure to sprinkle each serving with more right before serving. Those minor changes will result in a superior product.

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