I have a confession to make: I've been on a bit of a tomato bender.
I just can't help it. They are just so irresistible. I've been popping cherry tomatoes like pills, sneaking slices and dices of heirlooms into every meal, and lusting after Early Girls.
I recently came across this Mario Batali clip, and learned that there is a word for my ailment. The Italians call it Scorpacciata.
It means, essentially, a feeding frenzy…specifically, on something that is in season. In Batali's words, it's when something comes into season, and you "go at it with a vengeance." You have it in every way that you can, you commit to it, you gorge on it, eating as much of it as possible, because in the real world, that one shining item is only available, in its prime deliciousness, for a small window of time.
Ah, see? The Italians have been doing it for so long, they have a whole word for it. That makes me feel better.
To help feed my feeding frenzy, I turned once again this year, to the Ladybug Truck, Mariquita Farm's bulk buying club. I showed up early at the drop-off point (a.k.a. Piccino), and indulged in a lovely brunch al fresco to take the edge off.
Roasted Fruit Bruschetta (chewy, crispy slices of house-made bread, slathered with honey butter and topped with roasted strawberries and pluots, basil, and a drizzle of crème fraiche) and Salsiccia Pizza (house-made sausage, red onions, mozzarella, topped with two perfectly soft-baked eggs) got me feeling pretty good.
And then my supplier came. Score. I procured my 24 pounds of Early Girl gold and got my canning underway. There is nothing in the world like pulling out a jar of canned fresh tomatoes in the dead of winter, and getting a little jolt of summer again.
I couldn't wait to taste my loot and made a batch of sauce right away for that night's dinner. A simple and utterly satisfying meal of angel hair pasta and Early Girl Tomato Sauce. This sauce is made with four ingredients: peeled Early Girls, a clove of garlic, a spoonful of sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Cross my heart, that's all you need. And here's a secret: add a little cream at the end and you've got Tomato Soup!
You may recall another recipe for Tomato (Butter) Sauce I shared not long ago...well, I'm not saying that one tomato sauce is better than the other. I love them both the same, in different ways. Like jeans. There are skinny jeans, and there are comfy jeans. There are work jeans, and there are going-out jeans. I could carry this comparison on for a while, but I think you get the idea.
What I'm saying is…sometimes you need a little butter comfort in your life. And sometimes you need pure, fresh, healthy, goodness.
So, what are you waiting for? Farsi una scorpacciata! Quick, before it's too late!
Early Girl Tomato Sauce
As Bay Area gourmands like to say, it's all about the ingredients. These dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are so intense and sweet, they make for an incredibly simple, utterly delicious tomato sauce. I've also been known to add a splash of cream at the end and turn this into Tomato Soup!
Makes: Enough to coat ½ pound spaghetti
About 1 quart container of peeled Early Girl tomatoes *
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic. Sautee to soften the garlic, making sure not to brown/burn.
2. Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor
3. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and balsamic vinegar to the saucepan. Let simmer until sauce thickens.
* If you are working with fresh tomatoes, remove the skins by dropping the tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and run under cold water. You should then be able to easily peel the tomatoes.