Fresh Tomato Sauce (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Hi Everyone,

It’s the tail end of the tomato season but the price is still encouraging. I’ve been making and enjoying some fresh sauces, enjoying the last of the season until next time. These tomato sauces require no cooking – they are versatile, easy to prepare, and full of flavour.

Preparing the sauces simply requires chopping and dropping the ingredients into a food processor; make 2 to 4 pulses depending on the power of your machine and you’re done! It is that easy. However, as with most simple recipes and raw dishes, you want to always ensure that you have the freshest and best quality product. Anything less and you compromise the taste.

Tomatoes can be used green or at their fully ripened stage. They can be raw or they can be cooked. The stage in-between, when they are ‘turning’, or ripening, is not best suited for making this type of fresh sauce, because the flavour of the tomato is somewhat muddled, it is neither tart nor sweet but somewhere in between. Seasoning the sauce with salt and fresh lime/lemon juice (which are required) can then become like a high-wire act trying to balance the flavour. You may think you get it at the onset but then after the sauce has been resting for half an hour and the flavours meld, it turns out not to be as appetizing. It is not bad, more like nondescript. I stress therefore, that you use green tomatoes for the green sauce and firm, ripe tomatoes for the red sauce.

Fried Fish & Tostones with Fresh Green Tomato Sauce (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Green tomatoes are hard and firm. They are tart. Ripe red tomatoes are firm to the touch but not hard, they are juicy on the inside. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, some ripe tomatoes are inherently sweet, and some, sweet with a hint of tartness. Both of these stages of the tomatoes – green and ripe – bring distinction to the sauces. The green one facilitates the aggressiveness of garlic and is tamed by the use of fresh cilantro/coriander. The controlled heat from green hot peppers, is much more pleasing to the palette than the fieriness of red ripe hot peppers. You would think that the lime/lemon juice would make it too tart but it does not; they are different types of acid that complement each other well.

Ripe tomatoes are full of natural flavour so you do not have to work to dress them up – salt and heat are enough. Add the fresh lightness of cilantro/coriander and you have a winning sauce. If the tomatoes are really sweet, a squirt of fresh lime/lemon juice will perk it up.

These fresh tomatoes sauces will keep well for more than a week as long as they are stored in sterilized airtight bottles; and always use clean cutlery when dipping in to the sauce. The sauces can be used as dips, dressings or simply spooned over food.

Ways to Use Green and Red Fresh Tomato Sauces

● Eggs – poached, fried, sunny-side up, or boiled and sliced – douse or spoon heaps of the sauce over your eggs and sop up with crusty bread.

● Seafood – fish, shrimp, lobster etc – steamed, fried, pan-seared, grilled or poached – the sauce is a natural pairing. Works well with grilled chicken too.

● Stews. You may be skeptical about this but try it, especially with stewed fish or stewed chicken. When you plate your meal, add a spoonful of the red tomato sauce over the stew and then tuck in. I find that the green one is a little too assertive for the stews; the red one though, it works!

● Like fried plantain and eggs? If you do, then it’s a no-brainer having them with either or both of these sauces.

● Boiled ground provisions – sliced the hot cooked ground provisions and douse with either sauce. You will find yourself mashing the ground provision to soak up the sauce.

● Steamed vegetables – no more do they need to be boring. Okra, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are particularly receptive to these two fresh tomato sauces.

● Grilled vegetables. Oh Yeah. Grilled eggplant, sweet/bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini or corn can be tossed with the sauces or be served with heaped spoons of the sauce.

● While I have outlined a variety of ways to use these sauces, one of the obvious ways is as a dip/salsa with your chips! Tostones (twice fried green plantains), thick-cut breadfruit chips and cassava fries are delicious partners for these sauces.

Here’s how to make the sauces. Add amounts of the ingredients to suit your taste.

Green Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS

● 1 pound green tomatoes, rinsed, pat

   dry and chopped roughly

● 5 – 6 cloves of garlic; peeled and smashed

● Green hot peppers, to taste

● A handful of fresh cilantro/coriander (leaves and tender stems)

● Fresh lime/lemon juice, to taste

● Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor, except lime/lemon juice and salt; pulse until very fine.

2. Add lime/lemon juice and salt to taste; pulse to mix. Taste and adjust to suit your taste.

3. Pour into a bowl if using or clean glass jar. Let rest for 30 minutes before serving, if not cover tightly and refrigerate.

Red Tomato Sauce

INGREDIEDNTS

● 1 pound firm, ripe, red tomatoes,

    rinsed, pat dry and chopped roughly

● 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

● Red hot peppers, to taste

● A handful of fresh cilantro/coriander

   (leaves and tender stems)

● 1 small onion, chopped (optional)

● Fresh lime/lemon juice, to taste

● Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Add tomatoes, garlic, pepper and cilantro to a food processor; pulse until very fine.

2. Add onion, lime juice, and salt to taste – pulse to mix. Taste and adjust to suit your taste.

3. Pour into a bowl if using or clean glass jar. Let rest for 30 minutes before serving, if not cover tightly and refrigerate.

Cynthia

cynthia@tasteslikehome.org

www.tasteslikehome.org

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