Home Cooking


Help Me Diagnose My Catastrophic Tomato Sauce


More from Home Cooking

Home Cooking Tomatoes

Help Me Diagnose My Catastrophic Tomato Sauce

Jim Leff | | Sep 19, 2008 06:16 PM

One week ago, I made a delicious tomato sauce by hand-peeling and seeding fresh homegrown tomatoes and simmering with onion and garlic. Sweet, fresh, the very essence of summer tomatoes.

Last night, at the urgings of various forumites, I used my brand new OXO food mill. I found it an incredible exercise in frustration, taking vastly longer to de-skin and de-seed my tomatoes than doing so by hand (note: these were tomatoes from the same source as the previous ones). The mill has clearance of about 1/4 inch. If I cranked it hundreds of times, with frequent reversals, it eventually would kinda sorta tear up my small chunks of tomatoes and press them through the screen. Figure about 15 mins per tomato, with juice flying everywhere. Lovely. I used the medium insert, which passed lots of seeds, and ran it again through the fine one. It took me hours.

In a revereware stainless dutch oven, I slow sauteed finely chopped garlic and onion in olive oil till soft. Added the tomato mixture. Simmered an hour. Looked at my watch...it was midnight. I unscrewed the handles and threw the pot into the oven, which I set to cook 3 hours at 325.

Next morning....blech. The flavor was all dark and baritone, like cheap canned sauce. No sweetness at all.

I cranked it up again, added basil, salt, black pepper, more olive oil. Better, but not good.

The only thing I can think of is that in addition to about 18 nice big perfectly ripe tomatoes, I added four older ones. I cut a couple bad spots off, and tasted them before I added them. While they weren't sprightly or anything...kinda blah...they didn't taste bad, so I threw them in.

I'm wondering if the darn food mill sort of ground up some tomato seeds, creating a musky slightly bitter vibe. Or if the start again/stop again cooking cycle hurt me.