Friday, 9 April 2010

French Tomato Coulis

We eat a lot of pasta in our household. It's easy, it's tasty and the Little Miss loves it. It even comes in new, healthier formations with all sorts of grainy things added into it, wheatgerm and spinach and what have you. And on those days when you just do not have the time, or the energy, to deal with complicated cooking, it's pasta to the rescue. On these same days, however, you are most likely going to be tempted to reach for the ready-made sauces on offer in the supermarket as well. I should know. I have, after all, had countless of those days recently. So this is what I came up with. French Tomato Coulis. Meaning it's a sauce. A French sauce. Made of tomatoes. You can make a batch of it and refrigerate or freeze it and then on 'one of those days' you can just boil the pasta, pour on the sauce, add some grated cheese and you're done. And on the days that you have more of both time and energy, you can use it as a wonderful sauce base for all sorts of meat, fish or vegetable dishes.

I found the base for this recipe in a book I got as a Christmas present from one of my sisters. It is by Virginie Besancon, and is called 'Ma Cuisine du Soleil'All the recipes in the book are vegetarian, but if you absolutely need your meat quota, I should think you can just add it as you wish. I have made this coulis in many different formations, mainly according to whatever herbs are available. 

First, take about one kilo of tomatoes. The best kind for this are the big pear plum tomatoes. To peel the tomatoes, boil some water, make a cross slash on the peel and put the tomatoes into the boiling water for about a minute. Then fish them out and just peel off the peel. Next chop around 4 biggish onions and 4-5 cloves of garlic, pour some olive oil in a thick bottomed saucepan and fry the onions until golden.

Chop the tomatoes and add in the pan. Prepare some fresh basil and a sprig of thyme and add in the mixture. Take one or two bay leafs, little bit of ground black pepper, some sea salt and a tablespoon of sugar and in they go. At this point I just have to mention that the bay leafs I had were picked by Little Miss last summer from my Father-in-Laws garden and though we still have some left I am looking forward to picking a new batch come this summer. :) As you can see, I added the bay leafs already into the onion mixture. That's just something I do, you can be a good chef and do as Virginie tells us to do.

The sauce should be left to boil on a slow heat for about 45 minutes. If you wish, add a teaspoon or so of curry. I usually use just a tiniest bit to give it a spot of flavor. When you're done, remove the bay leafs and the thyme twig and puree the sauce with a blender. Pay attention at this point to not ending up with a pan of baby puree though, ie. don't puree it into oblivion. While the sauce is still warm, pour it into clean glass jars and close carefully. Done. 

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