Fresh Tomato Puree

Tomato puree is something I often need in my cooking.

I use it to make Harissa Jam, Sicilian Tomato Sauce, Ribolita, a quick pasta sauce with Garlic Puree and much more. So, for me, it is crucially important for the puree to have a fresh taste instead of the metallic, over-salted flavors coming from supermarket canned tomatoes. It is also important to make this puree without much fuss or cleaning-up.

My culinary education taught me the following method to work with tomatoes, including making a puree. Bring a pot of water to a boil, slice an X into the bottom of the tomato, plunge the tomato into the boiling water for 15-30 seconds, remove the tomato and put it into ice water to rapidly cool it, remove the peel from the tomato, slice and remove the seeds, then slice into small cubes so the cooking breaks it down into a puree.

This method is a waste of time…and eliminates most of the tomato’s nutritional properties and flavor.

My standard method now involves just a couple of quick steps. But, it is absolutely critical to shop well and purchase some tasty tomatoes with a moderate amount of water content (try to avoid mass-produced tomatoes). So, here’s how I do it:

tomato puree_step 1

tomato puree_step 2

tomato puree_step 3

 

  1. Wash your tomatoes well and quarter them. Small tomatoes can be left whole.
  2. Place the tomatoes into your blender…ideally a high-speed blender.
  3. Start on the lowest setting and gradually work to high speed. Blend until completely processed – the puree should be a pinkish-red color.
  4. Strain the puree into a clean bowl to eliminate the seeds.

That’s it…you’re now ready to roll with a fresh tomato puree. Store unused puree in the refrigerator, covered, for 3 days.

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