Chez Pim is now broadcasting from the (not so sunny) South of France for the next week or so. The shot above was taken on my iphone as the plane approached the Côte d'Azur before landing at Nice airport. David and I are here for the fun-filled and food-filled conference Les Étoiles de Mougins.
No, no, I'm not live-blogging the conference--at best it would be live-ish blogging it. Stay tuned.
I make this simple tomato sauce throughout the summer when we feel like a light dinner. It's so simple I didn't even think to blog about it, until David brought it up last week. It's too easy, I told him. That's why you should do it, he said. It's simple but fantastic. Plus, he liked the little trick I do with the tomato pulp, keeping it fresh while reducing the juices to a proper thickness for the sauce. I should definitely blog this, he insisted.
Well, ok, then. Coming from chef himself, who's to argue. So here it is messieurs-dames, my super easy tomato sauce you can do in less then fifteen minutes, and with no special tools except a knife, a pot, a pan, and your own handy hands. No fancy ingredients either, but for delicious tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, oh, yes, and a bit of garlic if you like that kind of thing. Really. It is that easy. I usually start the sauce just as I begin to get the pasta ready, and they both are done at just about the same time.
The little trick David mentioned is the way I separate the tomato pulp from the juice after it's cooked for just a minute or so. I do it because I love the flavor of fresh, in-season tomatoes, but I hate the watery texture of most fresh tomato sauce. Often, by the time the tomato is cooked down to the proper sauce consistency, it loses that fresh, zingy bite of fresh tomatoes. So I imported a little trick I do when I make jam--which I learnt from Our Lady of Confitures Christine Ferber in her fantastic jam book. I let the tomato pulp cook very quickly in the pan, just until it releases the juices, then I fish out the meaty pulp with a slotted spoon, then let the juices cook down to the consistency I like, then add the pulp back in and season. This way I get a lovely, thick sauce with a super fresh tomato flavor. Nice, yeah?
Morning fog is creeping in every morning and staying later each day here, a sure sign that summer is departing soon. David and I went up to the garden yesterday to get some tomatoes. We had a late start this season for our tomato plants, and Cynthia said we'd have plenty of tomatoes well into October. So perhaps this is not quite the last hurrah for us, but it might be for a lot of you. I thought I'd do a classic salad, one of my favorite things to do when I have ripe, juicy tomatoes and some stale bread around.
No, no, this isn't my usual pan con tomate. We're not in Spain tonight, we're just a bit over to the East in Italy. Panzanella, the Italian tomato and bread salad, is just as simple as the Spanish pan con tomate, and every bit as good. Stale bread, juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, tossed together with a simple vinaigrette, it can hardly get much simpler.