Author Topic: Howdy.  (Read 618 times)

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Offline Auralnauts

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Howdy.
« on: September 02, 2013, 07:05:44 PM »
So if any of you remember me, I came a couple of months back asking for some help using fresh tomatoes instead of any of these canned products as they don't exist where I'm from. The response I went with was to simply use the tomatoes and use the same recipe. That... didn't go so well.

So basically I was using a tomato called "chonto". They're these round, really watery, tomatoes. They have the same taste as plumb tomatoes but have more seeds and have a lot more water. My recipe calls for fresh tomatoes which are then boiled and peeled, put in a blender, and then I add tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, basil, and a bit of vinegar. It didn't taste the same as when I made it here though, I honestly did not like the taste of the sauce at all. While it was cooking in the oven it also began dripping, the sauce started releasing more water and I guessed it was due to the tomato.

What I'm asking now is for a recipe that I can use the fresh tomatoes with that is still restaurant quality.
Dough, stretch, sauce, cheese; check.


Online scott123

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2013, 07:31:11 PM »
Auralnauts, tomato paste and vinegar have absolutely no place in NY style pizza. Also, from our previous discussion, you don't want to boil tomatoes- you only want to par-boil them- that is, plunge them into boiling water just long enough to loosen the skins- and no longer.  Also, from our previous discussion, you should never blend tomatoes.  At least, not with a regular blender.  A hand blender can work, but only if you use it very judiciously and maintain a coarse texture.

There's two things going on with the tomatoes in pizza sauce.  First, a fresh tomato has a host of compounds that provide flavor, compounds that are lost when you cook it.  Cooking it creates other flavor notes and intensifies sweetness, and those flavors are great on pasta, but they have no place on pizza.  You want to guard the fresh, very fragile flavor notes of a fresh tomato with your life by exposing it to as little heat as possible before putting it on the pizza. Because paste has been cooked as long as it has, it's the exact opposite of what you want on pizza. Paste is perfect for pasta, but the worst thing you can use for pizza.

The second thing occurring is that a tomato, like most vegetables, is comprised of cells that contain water. If you break up too many of these cells, such as by blending, the water leaks out and you end up with a water-y sauce.  The goal should be a coarse consistency.  The best way to achieve this is with a food mill. If you do have a tomato with so much water that, even when coarsely processed, it leaks a lot of water, you can put it in a sieve lined with cheesecloth and let some of the water-y juice drip out. Cheesecloth should really be a last resort, though, and shouldn't be required with a good tomato.

Your sauce is only as good as your tomato.  Plum tomatoes are nice, but not absolutely necessary.  What is necessary, though, is having a tomato that is ripe and flavorful.  Any tomato you use for sauce you should be able to slice, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and enjoy immensely on it's own.  The sauce making process cannot make a bad tomato better.

Offline Auralnauts

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 07:43:50 PM »
Auralnauts, tomato paste and vinegar have absolutely no place in NY style pizza. Also, from our previous discussion, you don't want to boil tomatoes- you only want to par-boil them- that is, plunge them into boiling water just long enough to loosen the skins- and no longer.  Also, from our previous discussion, you should never blend tomatoes.  At least, not with a regular blender.  A hand blender can work, but only if you use it very judiciously and maintain a coarse texture.

There's two things going on with the tomatoes in pizza sauce.  First, a fresh tomato has a host of compounds that provide flavor, compounds that are lost when you cook it.  Cooking it creates other flavor notes and intensifies sweetness, and those flavors are great on pasta, but they have no place on pizza.  You want to guard the fresh, very fragile flavor notes of a fresh tomato with your life by exposing it to as little heat as possible before putting it on the pizza. Because paste has been cooked as long as it has, it's the exact opposite of what you want on pizza. Paste is perfect for pasta, but the worst thing you can use for pizza.

The second thing occurring is that a tomato, like most vegetables, is comprised of cells that contain water. If you break up too many of these cells, such as by blending, the water leaks out and you end up with a water-y sauce.  The goal should be a coarse consistency.  The best way to achieve this is with a food mill. If you do have a tomato with so much water that, even when coarsely processed, it leaks a lot of water, you can put it in a sieve lined with cheesecloth and let some of the water-y juice drip out. Cheesecloth should really be a last resort, though, and shouldn't be required with a good tomato.

Your sauce is only as good as your tomato.  Plum tomatoes are nice, but not absolutely necessary.  What is necessary, though, is having a tomato that is ripe and flavorful.  Any tomato you use for sauce you should be able to slice, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and enjoy immensely on it's own.  The sauce making process cannot make a bad tomato better.

So I shouldn't use tomato paste nor vinegar? Vinegar was a personal touch but I have never made pizza sauce without tomato paste. Wouldn't the removal of tomato paste make the sauce even more watery?

And yes. I forgot about not cooking the tomato... I thought it would get the same consistency as the "italian peeled tomatoes" that come in cans, but what I got were "burnt" tomatoes. I really just need a recipe that uses fresh ingredients, and really can't find any that are tasty and don't put too much side flavors in. I'm so used to seeing pizza sauce made with Alta Cucina canned products that I don't really know how to make a fresh sauce... it's disappointing.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 07:45:21 PM by Auralnauts »
Dough, stretch, sauce, cheese; check.

Online Tscarborough

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 10:47:18 PM »
"The sauce making process cannot make a bad tomato better."

Bull-dookey.  The only place for crappy tomatoes is in a sauce.  Gut them and you are gold.  Use salt and sugar to balance them and even a crappy tomato works for sauce.   Do you really think the prime harvest goes to the canner?

Online scott123

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 11:46:31 PM »
Do you really think the prime harvest goes to the canner?

Tom, make pizza with a can of Sclafanis and then come back and say this. By the time I pay shipping, it'll be around $15 to send a can, but I'm willing to send it to you if you're willing to try it out. That's how much I believe in quality tomatoes.

Online scott123

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 11:56:44 PM »
So I shouldn't use tomato paste nor vinegar? Vinegar was a personal touch but I have never made pizza sauce without tomato paste. Wouldn't the removal of tomato paste make the sauce even more watery?

Paste makes for a thicker sauce, but if you're choosing the right tomato and not overprocessing it, you shouldn't need paste.

Online Tscarborough

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 12:05:41 PM »
I have, Scott, but that is not what I said.  I said you can make a good sauce with bad tomatoes.

Online scott123

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Re: Howdy.
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 10:00:58 PM »
I said you can make a good sauce with bad tomatoes.

To an extent, I agree, but you can make a better sauce with better tomatoes  :P Garbage in garbage out.