With the arrival of autumn and the first frosts, we want to go back to the kitchen to invent little cocoon recipes. Tomato sauce is one of the essentials and is the base of our favorite dishes. Find out how baking soda will revolutionize your sauce, as explained by Marc Laslande, chef in the Tarn-et-Garonne.
For our pastas, pizzas, lasagna, meat or fish, nothing better than a good homemade tomato sauce. But how to be successful? Sometimes too thick, too liquid, too soft or too acid… Here are some tips from the chef to prepare a succulent sauce.
Everyone knows that the worst enemy of tomato sauce is acidity. We simmer our sauce with great care for hours, believing that we are going to enjoy it. But when it comes to tasting it, it is disappointing, the touch of acidity takes precedence over the rest of the dish and ends up spoiling the pleasure.
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To reconcile with tomato sauce, some tips should be applied. You should know that the acidity will be more or less pronounced depending on the variety of tomato and its degree of maturity. Also keep in mind that it is the seeds that concentrate most of the acidity, so it is better to remove them for cooking.
The best known trick that many already practice to reduce the acidity of the sauce is to add a little sugar. It does work, but in reality the sugar just covers up the acidity and does not remove it. Also, it can alter the taste of the sauce and make it too sweet, not to mention for people who can’t consume it.
That is the purpose of baking soda.. In fact, as we learn in cooking school, it has the property of neutralizing the acidity of food and regulating its PH. By adding a few pinches to your sauce as you cook, you can sweeten it without altering its flavor. You will see some bubbles form on the surface of the sauce, proof that the chemical reaction is taking place. Also, this is especially interesting for people who have a fragile stomach and do not tolerate acidic foods well. This also applies to the preparation of your fruit coulis or your jams.
If you don’t have baking soda on hand, you can always cook your tomatoes with a good fresh carrot or date, for a natural sweetness that will correct the acidity.
Flavor tips for a fragrant tomato sauce
Another recurring problem with tomato sauce is its lack of flavor. Here are some simple tips to take your taste buds on a journey and transport your guests to the shores of the Mediterranean.
one-Choose your tomatoes wisely : You can cook the sauce with fresh, very ripe, peeled and crushed tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes. On the other hand, never use tomato puree as a sauce base. You can only add one hazelnut at the end of cooking to enhance the color, no more. The best tomatoes are those with low water content and few seeds such as the San Marzano, Big Mama, Roma or Juliette tomato. Cherry tomatoes are also very fragrant.
2-Olive oil : Just as you can’t make tortillas without breaking eggs, you can’t make tomato sauce without olive oil either. It’s the must-have ingredient after tomatoes, salt and pepper and on its own it brings a taste of Italy to your plate. It can be used at the beginning of cooking to brown the ingredients and add a splash at the end to accentuate the flavor.
3-Garlic onion : they will give flavor and depth to your sauce. Fry them in olive oil before adding the tomatoes. Take care not to color them too much at the risk of bringing bitterness to your sauce.
4-Aromatic herbs : thyme, bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, parsley, basil… There is something for all tastes, to add according to the flavors that you like the most. They give character to the sauce as long as they are used well. The aromatic herbs, so that they do not change and release the maximum flavor, should be added at the end of cooking.
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5-cooking : There are different types and consistencies of sauce depending on the recipe, more liquid or more reduced. For the pasta, cook quickly over high heat in a large skillet for 15 to 20 minutes for a crisp, fluid result. For a lasagna or roast, opt for a reduced-simmer sauce, cooked over low heat in a heavy saucepan, with a cook time of 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Now that you know everything about tomato sauce and its secrets, all you have to do is get in the kitchen to bring Italy to your plate.
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