I don’t know about you guys but I watch every chef program available, It’s like cook school for me. I love Top Chef, Chopped, Iron Chef, and now there is the Chef Academy with this Famous French chef Jean Christophe Novelli at Bravo on Mondays. It’s really funny because they of course choose the right characters and there is a bit of everything and lots of drama. They prepared this tomato sauce that just looked delicious, it’s a bit unusual the spices he used but the end result was fantastic. I would have never thought adding vanilla and star anis into my tomato sauce, but it gives an amazing flavor. I have also tried this weekend the famous Umami burger and wow…. It was Umami. I had the Father’s office burger before and my standard was pretty high, but I have to say Umami was freaking delicious. I had to run around the block zillion times next day but it was totally worth it.
Grandma Louise’s Tomato Sauce
- 6 lb (2.7 kg) Beef or Heirloom tomatoes
- 4 Star anise
- 1 Vanilla pod
- Sea salt & cracked black pepper to season
- White sugar
- 2 Sprig fresh thyme
- 1-2 Bay leaves
- Fresh garlic
- 28gm bunch fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
Place a heavy cast pan to heat up. Wash the tomatoes and halve roughly. Place into the hot pan and season with salt, pepper and a touch of sugar. Add the anise, vanilla, the bay leaves and thyme. Allow the tomatoes to start to cook then press them gently with a masher to help them to release their juice. Reduce the heat down to just simmering and continue for about 1 to 2 hours until a thickened paste. This slow evaporation of the moisture from the tomatoes will produce a deep color concentrated flavor without any bitterness. Crack the garlic and add along with the basil that is just halved and throw in. Combine with the warm paste and finish with a good amount of olive oil to finish the infusion. Allow cooling before storing ready for use.
* If you have added too much sugar to start this can be balanced out with a touch of vinegar. Always taste the tomatoes uncooked to determine their natural sweetness before you add the sugar. The amount of garlic to infuse with greatly depends on its strength; again make your own judgment. Additional seasoning such as cumin, fennel seeds, chili etc can be added this is of course personal taste again.