Author Topic: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce  (Read 6521 times)

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Offline petef

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Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« on: January 26, 2010, 04:04:02 AM »
Everyone,
One of the most difficult things to do is describe the taste of pizza sauce. Each person has their own idea of the perfect pizza sauce, but how do you describe or label the different kinds of sauces? In other words, how would you describe the taste of a pizza sauce versus spaghetti sauce. How would you describe your favorite pizza sauce without listing all the ingredients?

My favorite pizza sauce has a light red color and bright tangy taste. It has a distinctive acidic quality that you can sense on the roof of your mouth the moment you bite into a slice. It's NOT a complex flavor like a spaghetti sauce. For people in the NJ area, it's the kind of flavor similar to the sauce on Delorenzo's Tomato pies or the typical NJ pizzeria type pie.

I'm at a loss for adjectives to describe the sauce which is the reason I made this post.

---pete---



Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 02:15:07 PM »
I'll go along with you on that one.  I'll call it simple but intense tomato flavor.  On KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, my favorite rude chef, Gordon Ramsay said something I had never really put into words but always thought.  The best dishes are not composed of so many tastes that they become indistinguishable.  It's nice to be able to identify each flavor.  My sauce consists of lightly browned (in evoo) garlic, crushed red pepper, barely scalded tomatoes and salt.  I strain the water from the tomatoes first because I'm going for intensity, so H2O is not my friend in that regard.  The scalding really brings out the bright acidic tang in the tomatoes and you can taste each element.  I puree them to a sauce consistency with a hand immersion blender after their brief moment on the stove -- not enough time to cook the tomatoes, just enough to sear them and infuse the other flavors.  Embarrassingly simple compared to some of the recipes I read here, but I've tried many blends of spices, long cooking, no cooking, you name it - all in different combinations.  Simplicity was a revelation to me.  Hope I didn't take this in an unintended direction.  To bring it back on point - Bright, spare, intense tomato flavor with a few select accent notes.

PS - If you let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days, the flavor multiplies by a million.  Why?  Delicious mystery...  :chef:
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 11:45:52 PM by Glutenboy »
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline scott123

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Re: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 04:29:35 PM »
My favorite pizza sauce has a light red color and bright tangy taste.

Historically, I think it's well known that Neapolitan pizza was/is always about the freshest, brightest least cooked tomatoes.  I firmly believe that when pizza made the trip across the water, that ethos came with it. Regardless of the change in ovens and the change in crust thickness, the classic beauty of fresh, brightly flavored tomatoes continued to resonate in the hearts of New York pizzaiolos.

...and still continues to resonate today for many pizzerias in New York and New Jersey.

As pizza traveled West, that's where the adulteration began.  That's where people with no connection to history got their grubby little hands on pizza and committed the ultimate sin by putting heavily cooked, heavily spiced, store bought spaghetti sauce on it. ;D

At least, that's how the purists see it. Personally, I have been known to put (my own) cooked spaghetti sauce on pizza and enjoy it, although I do make the distinction that a cooked sauce pie is NOT NY style.  Calling a cooked sauce pie 'NY Style' is an insult to both New Yorkers and the memory of Italian immigrants that brought pizza to these shores. IMHO ;D

Offline petef

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Re: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 08:19:40 PM »
Personally, I have been known to put (my own) cooked spaghetti sauce on pizza and enjoy it, although I do make the distinction that a cooked sauce pie is NOT NY style. 

Ok, so how would you describe the flavor of you spaghetti sauce?

To me, spaghetti sauce has a "dark complex" flavor rich in garlic and various other spices. I would not classify spaghetti sauce as being "bright". Perhaps "bright" is another word for acidic.

I discovered that the more ingredients I add to my pizza sauce the more it begins to taste like spaghetti sauce which is undesirable for the target flavor I'm shooting for.

What puzzles me most about pizza sauce is how I may find a specific local pizzeria to have the best sauce to my liking with that certain bright and tangy taste then I find people who tell me they don't like that particular pizza because they don't like the sauce. Unfortunately. no one seems able to describe what it is about the sauce that they don't like.  So I'm looking for some adjectives or descriptions that would describe or differentiate one type of pizza sauce from another.

Is it possible to group the various types of pizza sauce into specific flavor categories?

---pete---



Offline scott123

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Re: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 09:31:04 PM »
Pizza sauce (NY style)- uncooked, unprocessed, fresh, bright, light (fat free) with very little herbs.

Spaghetti sauce- slow cooked, sweet, rich, layered, hearty

Good puree is bright light red, paste is dark deep red.  Puree (and peeled tomatoes) makes good pizza sauce and paste makes good spaghetti sauce.

Generally speaking.  I've had pasta with an uncooked bright tasting sauce that was great.  With most Italian, old fashioned families, though, gravy is simmered- for a while.

Sauce is very personal/very subjective.  I feel pretty strongly that NY style sauce should be uncooked/bright and relatively simple, but, beyond that, there's as many different sauces as there are pizzerias.  As I mentioned before, I try to take a fairly historic approach.  I believe that when pizza crossed the water, the basil that used to go on top of the pie started going into the sauce. That's one core ingredient. Fresh basil-dried basil is an abomination. I also believe that as immigrants started using less sweet tomatoes, sugar entered the picture.  Sugar is definitely another core ingredient (for non San Marzano tomatoes/puree).  Salt's a no brainer. Oregano... yes, oregano is a player, although all of my favorite places go with an extremely light hand. Oregano, imo, is very easily abused. Summing up:

Uncooked tomatoes
Fresh basil
Sugar
Salt
Oregano

all define NY style pizza.  Garlic is a tough call. My favorite spot adds raw garlic, so I follow their lead in my own sauce, but I haven't recognized garlic in enough NJ/NY pizzerias to be able to say "garlic defines NY pizza."  I wouldn't make a pizza sauce without raw garlic, and, if I ate at a pizzeria that didn't add it, I'd probably say it was missing something.  That's just me, though.

As far as potential ingredients for a classic NY style sauce- that's the list. There's many paths to pizza nirvana, though, and people make great sauces from just about anything, but, as far as my experience growing up eating NY pizza, this is it.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 09:34:46 PM by scott123 »

Offline Steve973

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Re: Describe the taste of your favorite pizza sauce
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2010, 12:23:40 AM »
For me it's pretty easy to enumerate the characteristics that I prefer.  First of all, it won't taste like pasta sauce.  If you simmer garlic and onions in oil and then simmer tomato sauce, you will not create an authentic tasting pizza sauce even if you add the "right" combination of spices, in my opinion.  That will just be some type of pasta sauce!  I look for uncooked, blended tomatoes, a balanced but discernible taste of dried oregano and basil, a bit of salt, and some acidity, but if there's too much, it should be cut by a little sugar.  There should also be some onion/garlic taste, and I believe that it requires garlic powder and onion powder for the "right" taste.  I like a hint of black pepper, but it's too much if it's readily noticeable.
"Right here, right now, from the very beginning, there is only one thing. Constantly clear and unexplained, having never been born and having never died, it cannot be named or described." - Zen Master So Sahn