How to make a simple can of crushed tomatoes from the supermarket into a high end tomato sauce for a variety of uses at home, a tomato sauce like you’ve never tasted before - well hopefully :).
So the really high end restaurants, well some of them, make their tomato sauce from fresh whole tomatoes, they dip them in hot water to remove the skin, then cut out the core and remove all the pips after all that waste is put aside for the compost they eventually use the flesh to make their tomato sauce base. It’s chopped in a food processor or by hand and often mixed with canned tomatoes or tomato paste at some point anyway.
Here is a quick, easy way to make a really spectacular tomato sauce using a basic can from the supermarket and a few optional additions.
1 x Can of Basic Crushed Tomatoes (good Italian brand is best but anything will do)
1 x Sliced or Chopped Clove of Garlic (2 or 3 if you really like garlic)
½ medium sized onion - Finely chopped/diced
A little Olive Oil, knob of Butter & Salt/Cracked Pepper
White wine, water or vegetable stock
1 x T spoon of Fresh chopped herbs from your garden
*Oregano , Basil & Thyme work best but experiment with a little Parsley, Rosemary or even Cilantro as well (failing that dried mixed herbs (if you must)), or ask your neighbor if they grow herbs J Fresh is always best and Oregano grows like a weed in the spring & summer !
OPTIONAL … sliced Green Onions, splash of White Wine, chopped Capers, black Olives, chopped fresh Tomatoes.
Simply sauté the onions & garlic in the olive oil & Butter over a medium heat in a shallow fry pan until the onions are soft. Add the Herbs and a little water or white wine to cover the onions. Add the herbs and the can of crushed tomatoes, salt/pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Simmer longer if you prefer a richer thicker sauce, add more water, white wine or vegetable stock if you prefer a thinner sauce.
For a variety of different uses keep in a mason jar in the fridge for a quick reheat.
I like to add a few chopped Capers to give a more tart flavor (white wine vinegar also works).
I usually serve/toss with pasta the same day I make the sauce then leave the remainder in the fridge for use in another meal or sauce later in the week.
If you simmer the sauce until thicker it makes a great tomato base for pizza dough.
Leave out the herbs and use sliced green onions & Cilantro (at last minute) only for an Asian style tomato sauce or add some sautéed chilies for some heat.
This sauce is a great base to experiment with you can add almost anything to it, artichokes, sliced mushrooms, bacon and pour over or coat the plate under virtually any meat or fish.
Food is Fun, experiment, enjoy and don’t eat fast food!
Author : Mark Watson, General Manager, “ Just Right Catering” Vancouver BC
Mark has worked as a qualified Chef for over 35 + years in hotels, restaurants & fine culinary establishments in Europe & North America and is currently GM for “JRC” in Vancouver, Canada.
He enjoys a keen interest in all things food, golf & fishing and in his spare time he also manages an English Premier League Football team - the last bit is actually inaccurate :).