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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Top Secret Pizza Sauce

Right, here's the disclaimer:

Firstly, this recipe is so secret that even I don't know it.

Secondly, it may or may not be Pizza Sauce. It might be pasta sauce, it might be herby tomato concentrate, it might even be some form of as-yet-undiscovered alcoholic semi-beverage. I'll leave a bit in the sun for a while and see what happens.

What follows is not so much a recipe as a transpiration of events.

1. Discover that the really cheap tomatoes you got at the market on the weekend were priced thus for a reason, as you suspected at the time, and will need to be cooked up right away because you just can't see them going on a piece of toast, and you can't bear to throw them away.

2. Cobble together in your head everything you think you remember about making pizza or pasta sauce, but don't bother checking any recipe books or doing any research because its nowhere near as much fun that way.

3. Oil and season the tomatoes on an oven tray and put under a VERY HOT grill. Pull out and turn a couple of times as the skins crisp. Put out the small fire that starts when the baking paper touches said VERY HOT grill. Try to pick the ash off the cooked tomatoes.

4. Peel the skin off the tomatoes. This becomes a task for a knife and pair of tongs as, unsurprisingly, the tomatoes that have been under the VERY HOT grill are also, yes, VERY HOT.

5. Have a moment of hindsight, remembering that this was probably a job for a pot of boiling water and a bowl of cold water. Shrug, chalk it up to life experience, and justify actions by considering how much better roast tomatoes taste than boiled ones.

6. Search the house frantically looking for the sharpening steel, which was last seen on the weekend in the hands of the 16-month old kitchenhand, who obviously had some very important things to sharpen, like the couch and probably Daddy's boots. Fail to find said steel, which will later turn up in the tea-towel drawer.

7. Chop up an onion and put into a pot of RATHER HOT olive oil with some salt. Soften the onion, then try to answer the phone with a bottle of balsamic vinegar in one hand and accidentally over-vinegar the onion. Sadly, there is no way to get excess vinegar out of onion, so it becomes a feature of the dish rather than a suggestion.

8. Break up a head of garlic and place it on the bottom shelf of a VERY HOT oven, with the intention of lightly roasting them so as to squeeze the sweet stuff from the centre into the sauce. While this is cooking, continue to work on Yesterday's Blog Post, and forget all about the garlic until it has largely burnt to a hard crisp. Make a futile attempt to salvage what you can before giving up in despair.

9. Squeeze the peeled tomatoes through a sieve into the pot of onions and garlic, thus preventing the seeds and remaining skin from entering the sauce. Scrape off the bottom of the sieve with a sharp knife, and in the process spill a reasonable quantity of skin and seeds into the sauce. Make a futile attempt to salvage what you can before giving up in despair.

10. Add a large spoonful of sugar, a grind of salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of dried italian herbs. When this sprinkle turns out to be more of a shake, make a futile attempt to salvage what you can before giving up in despair. Just stir it all in and put it on the stove.

11. Allow to simmer very gently for about 4 hours. This seemed to come off without a hitch, probably because my lovely wife handled this part of the process while I was at work today.

12. Examine the final product. A bit acidy, a bit vinegary, not really pizza sauce, not pasta sauce, but maybe a good base for a stew or some other sort of tomato concentrate substitute. Feel at least a little satisfied that it wasn't a complete write-off, and don't think about how much electricity was wasted in the running of the VERY HOT grill and oven for three small tubs of uncertain nature.

13. Determine to get more sleep tonight, and to leave my next attempt at tomato sauce until the market is totally glutted with them in the late summer.

14. Decide that its not even worth putting up the photos of the debacle described above, as it would only add insult to injury. Instead, think how nice it would be to have a nice milo right about now. Act on this most wise of intuitions.

UPDATE - Do to an unprecedented response from the public (See 1 Comment below) I have rescinded my earlier decision and loaded the photos. Now you can decide for yourself whether the mixture above is edible or otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Aw, go on, give us the photos! Please... ;)

Giffy said...

It is just awesome. Hilariously awesome :)

Dan said...

Sometimes its better to just laugh about these things. Photos now included for anyone interested.

lbs said...

You are hilarious. Sometimes I wonder what you were thinking about when your mum taught you to cook. Now that I think about it, you and I made some rather remarkable things in the kitchen sometimes too. I seem to remember something with pineapple essence that even the cat wouldn't eat....

Dan said...

I do remember that. I am physically shuddering at the thought.