This is an update of a previous thread on the Neapolitan forum http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4262.0.html
, but its now more about tomatoes and sauce so its time to move it here..
First an introduction.. I have read most threads here about tomatoes, but most of those don’t really apply to me because all the different brands of tomato (6 in 1, Escalon, Glen Muir, you name it) are not available in where I live anyway (New Zealand).
Secondly, I am primarily interested in making the best Neapolitan pizza you can get (other than in Napoli), so one of my areas of interest is tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes in particular.
One thing I have found: fresh is best. On a trip to Sydney, Australia I bought a passata mill. After I brought it back home, I was dead keen to try it out and bought a big bag of vine ripened, truss tomatoes and put them through the mill.
Firstly, after processing these tomatoes were very watery and needed reducing before they could be used as a passata on pizza. After reducing them (no additions of any kind), I kept some in the fridge and bottled the rest. The taste of this puree / sauce was outstanding. I invited some friends and relatives to taste this and they found it hard to believe that this was just pure tomato with nothing else added. Even a young friend of mine who rarely eats tomato based products thought it was really good.
Changing tack a little bit here: I came across an interesting article on the internet about canned tomatoes and they tested a whole bunch of different brands. (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/26/FD102117.DTL
)They found the “Il Miracolo di San Gennaro” tomato to be the second best (first being their organically home grown tomatoes).
On a trip to Naples last year I was able to obtain some seeds from the original strain of San Marzanos (not the more modern, hybridized version).
They were duly planted in the garden, as per below (with the pizza oven in the background):