Tomatoes: An Addiction (Early Girl Tomato Sauce)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Early Girl Tomatoes

24 lbs of Early Girl Tomatoes

I have a confession to make: I’ve been on a bit of a tomato bender.

I just can’t help it. They are just so irresistible. I’ve been popping cherry tomatoes like pills, sneaking slices and dices of heirlooms into every meal, and lusting after Early Girls.

I recently came across this Mario Batali clip, and learned that there is a word for my ailment. The Italians call it Scorpacciata.

It means, essentially, a feeding frenzy…specifically, on something that is in season. In Batali’s words, it’s when something comes into season, and you “go at it with a vengeance.” You have it in every way that you can, you commit to it, you gorge on it, eating as much of it as possible, because in the real world, that one shining item is only available, in its prime deliciousness, for a small window of time.

Ah, see? The Italians have been doing it for so long, they have a whole word for it. That makes me feel better.

To help feed my feeding frenzy, I turned once again this year, to the Ladybug Truck, Mariquita Farm’s bulk buying club. I showed up early at the drop-off point (a.k.a. Piccino), and indulged in a lovely brunch al fresco to take the edge off.

Brunch at Piccino Cafe

Brunch at Piccino Cafe

Roasted Fruit Bruschetta (chewy, crispy slices of house-made bread, slathered with honey butter and topped with roasted strawberries and pluots, basil, and a drizzle of crème fraiche) and Salsiccia Pizza (house-made sausage, red onions, mozzarella, topped with two perfectly soft-baked eggs) got me feeling pretty good.

The Ladybug Truck The Ladybug Truck

And then my supplier came. Score. I procured my 24 pounds of Early Girl gold and got my canning underway. There is nothing in the world like pulling out a jar of canned fresh tomatoes in the dead of winter, and getting a little jolt of summer again.

Peeled tomatoes

Peeled tomatoes

I couldn’t wait to taste my loot and made a batch of sauce right away for that night’s dinner. A simple and utterly satisfying meal of angel hair pasta and Early Girl Tomato Sauce. This sauce is made with four ingredients: peeled Early Girls, a clove of garlic, a spoonful of sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cross my heart, that’s all you need. And here’s a secret: add a little cream at the end and you’ve got Tomato Soup!

You may recall another recipe for Tomato (Butter) Sauce I shared not long ago…well, I’m not saying that one tomato sauce is better than the other. I love them both the same, in different ways. Like jeans. There are skinny jeans, and there are comfy jeans. There are work jeans, and there are going-out jeans. I could carry this comparison on for a while, but I think you get the idea.

What I’m saying is…sometimes you need a little butter comfort in your life. And sometimes you need pure, fresh, healthy, goodness.

So, what are you waiting for? Farsi una scorpacciata! Quick, before it’s too late!

Spaghetti with Early Girl Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Early Girl Tomato Sauce

Early Girl Tomato Sauce
As Bay Area gourmands like to say, it’s all about the ingredients. These dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are so intense and sweet, they make for an incredibly simple, utterly delicious tomato sauce. I’ve also been known to add a splash of cream at the end and turn this into Tomato Soup!

Makes: Enough to coat ½ pound spaghetti

Ingredients:
About 1 quart container of peeled Early Girl tomatoes *
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preparation:
1. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic. Sautee to soften the garlic, making sure not to brown/burn.
2. Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor
3. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and balsamic vinegar to the saucepan. Let simmer until sauce thickens.

* If you are working with fresh tomatoes, remove the skins by dropping the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and run under cold water. You should then be able to easily peel the tomatoes.

Print Recipe

*****
More Tomato Sauce Recipes from Food & Wine:

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This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD & WINE archive. As a FOOD & WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD & WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD & WINE for my participation.

20 Responses to “Tomatoes: An Addiction (Early Girl Tomato Sauce)”

  1. Nice! I don’t usually put vinegar in mine, but will need to try and compare.

  2. Harmony says:

    Your Early Girl Tomato Sauce sounds delicious. I’ve always been a big believer that if you have the very best ingredients, less can be more when it comes to food. And I can think of nothing that has added more oomph to the culinary world than balsamic vinegar. It’s myriad of uses often turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Thanks for sharing your particular ‘scorpacciata’ with us. I’m going to try your recipe this week-end.

  3. hua says:

    best tomatoes on earth!

  4. I have soooo many tomatoes to go through at the moment from our garden. I have been toying with the idea of tomato sauce…and this looks so simple yet delicious!!

  5. I know those dry-farmed Early Girls are supposed to be intensely flavored, but I found their skins to be very tough to deal with. Not a problem if you’re going to remove the skins and make sauce, but I don’t find them useful in salads. Cherry tomatoes are better for that application.

    The good thing about tomatoes is, although one variety may be available for only a short time, if you plant many different early, middle, and late ripening varieties, your enjoyment will last for several months. And as you said, canning preserves the Summer jolt all the way through Winter.

    Thanks for coming to our blog and commenting!

  6. Ruby says:

    Aha! Now I see why you liked the title of my blog so much! ;-) Pleased to meet you and best of luck with PFB!

  7. sophia says:

    Scorpacciata…I love that. I love how it just rolls off your tongue like that. I’ve never liked tomatoes too much, but your passion is rolling into me.

  8. I think I have a case of tomato scorpacciata, too; especially after reading this post. Gorgeous pictures!

  9. Ashlee says:

    I loved your post on Tomatoes. This year I had a garden for the first time and my tomatoes really came in. When I realized I was not going to be able to eat them all before they went bad I decided to make salsa. One of the things that I learned was when taking the skin off the tomatoes it is best to bring a pot of water to almost boiling then drop the tomatoes in for about three to five minutes then put them immediately into a bowl of ice water. This makes the skin fall right off. Have a wonderful day and enjoy your sauce.
    Ashlee
    p.s this is the salsa post http://ashandlewplus2.com/category/salsa/

  10. thank you so much for your comment! <3
    i love your site!! wow the layout is fantastic- and my oh my this pasta looks YUMMY <3

    xoxo

  11. Ivy says:

    Thanks for voting. You got my vote as well. Good luck. See you at Challenge #2.

  12. I would love to find Early Girl tomatoes, not sure I’ve seen them here on the east coast.

  13. My cousin-in-law gave me vine-ripened tomatoes from his garden. I ate 12 in 3 days.

    Yeah.

  14. lisa says:

    I love tomatoes!! and i like to add balsamic vinegar to my sauce too. 
    creamy tomato soup mmmmmm

  15. Hagit says:

    I love tomatoes, and now I’m hungry.

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