SAUCE TOMATE (direct translation)

Wash six large tomatoes, cut them in pieces, put them into a pot with a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a head of garlic, and an onion cut into rounds.

Cook over a low fire, without water.

Watch over the pot, and stir the tomatoes minute by minute, so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

When they have given up all their juice, pass your sauce through a strainer with a pestle, to remove the seeds and skins.

Put back over the fire : add salt, pepper, a pat of butter, and leave to simmer for twenty minutes.

It was not difficult to change the recipe to also accommodate cherry tomatoes.  I tried for Estimated Tomato Volume (I eye-balled it).

The sauce was very good, and, not totally surprising, reminded me of the little pizzas we had bought at the market in Nice when we were there (when I stayed there when I was a child, my aunt always cooked and we hardly ate things like that).  It was the herbs, I think.

Also, a Foley Food Mill, which is what I imagine the “strainer and pestle” refers to, is invaluable not only for this recipe, but also for anything that requires straining/puréeing.

Tomato Sauce
6 large tomatoes, washed and chopped into pieces
A bay leaf
A sprig of thyme
1 head of garlic, peeled
1 onion, sliced into rounds
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1.  Put the tomato pieces, bay leaf, thyme, garlic and onion rounds into a pot, and cook over a low fire.
2.  Stir often, to keep the tomatoes from sticking.  Cook until the juice has been released from the tomato pieces, and they are soft.
3.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig.  Put tomatoes through a food mill (see above), or you could try using a wooden spoon and a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds and peels.
4.  Put the resulting sauce back into the pot over a low fire.  Season with salt and pepper, and add the butter.  Cook slowly for twenty minutes more.

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}


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