By Laura Tucker-DeVries
Originally Published on November 19th, 2018.
As Eugene Delacroix once said: painting and cooking are the same; the great and the worse are made with the same elements. NOT SO with tomatoes, however.
If you are not already familiar, let me introduce you to the best tomato on the planet. The San Marzano tomato is THE most important element for making an authentic Pomodoro/tomato sauce—it cannot be substituted, no way, no how. There are everyday garden varieties of a zillion other tomatoes but none possess the characteristics of phenomenal taste, balanced flavor, and the tomato-ey intensity chefs prefer.
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They are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mt. Vesuvius, giving them a sweet flavor and low acidity. They have firm pulp, few seeds and easily removable skin.
As a sales representative for Roselli Foods in Fraser, Michigan for close to 20 years, I serviced many of the best Italian restaurants in Macomb and St. Clair counties. There are certain things that discerning chefs preparing Italian food will not budge on, tomatoes topping the list. Premium tomatoes make markedly better sauces, period. When only the best will do, choose the San Marzano.
In Italy, tomatoes are grown under specific and very strict specifications—authentic San Marzano tomatoes will have an official DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta). Without this designation, others are just a close second. So, now that we know more about this illustrious tomato—let me show you a recipe for a quick, yet delightful Pomodoro sauce.
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
¼ cup of your best extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Saute onion and oil over medium heat until onion begins to caramelize, add garlic and stir about 1 minute. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. This is the best part—crush the tomatoes with your fingers. Add to oil, onion, and garlic, simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in chopped fresh basil. My favorite sauce, serve with your favorite pasta and top with a healthy portion of Grana Padano cheese—the very best.
Until next time remember…”One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
I have always loved food. Luckily for me, I have been able to turn this love of food into a career of food and nutrition, and have spent the last 30 years sharing this passion with clients, friends, co-workers, and now online visitors! As a child, I watched my mom and Aunt run a very successful restaurant inside of a building in downtown Detroit which fed the folks that worked there. I was intrigued from the start, watching them prepare grill items, fabulous soups, and daily “blue plate” specials. I have tons of experience in the food industry—starting with working as a salad girt position in high school, a waitress in college, and later food sales for about 20 years. I serviced many of the top Italian eateries in the tri-county area surrounding Detroit and learned a LOT about preparing delicious food. This was much more than a culinary encounter—it was a passion awakened. It was then I consulted on food trends and helped clients create exciting new menu items—so exciting! Additionally, through the years I have worked in various upscale restaurants in both front and back of the house operations. I have put together cookbooks for volunteer organizations to raise funds for their causes to benefit the community and those less fortunate.
I am currently a part of the team in the Food and Nutrition Department at Ascension River District Hospital. I very much enjoy the work there, feeding patients and creating meal offerings in the cafeteria most evenings. This past summer, I did a food segment on CTV at Niemann’s Market in St. Clair, where I prepared an avocado shrimp salsa, which was widely received and gobbled down pretty quickly after the show! Please visit and join my Facebook food page, Tucker Inn & Friends Tasty Treats! We want to see your fabulous creations and don’t forget the photos!
Also, I have been a Realtor in this area since 1989, I am a part of the Frank Real Estate team in Marine City—so I could help with that, too! I am excited about contributing to the Blue Water Healthy Living website—watch for my articles which may involve recipes, restaurant reviews, real estate tips/trends, or anything else that is on my mind at the time! Looking forward to reaching out to all of you. Thank you, in advance, for reading my articles. To reach Laura, contact her at email@example.com.