Tastier tinned tomatoes with this simple trick
Know-howCuisine

Tastier tinned tomatoes with this simple trick

Simon Balissat
Zurich, on 13.02.2019
Translation: Eva Francis
It’s no secret that tinned tomatoes are tastier than fresh ones outside the tomato season. I've now come across a trick to make tinned tomatoes taste even more flavourful. Time to give it a try.

The idea described by «Bon Appetit» is simple enough: drain the tomatoes and fry them in a pan before you cook them. They will caramelise and produce more flavour. Tinned tomatoes are pre-cooked, but not enough to develop their full sweetness. They’re between being raw and cooked. So if you heat them up, the remaining water from within the tomatoes evaporates and the full flavour unfolds. By the way, don’t pour away the liquid that’s inside the tin – you’ll need it to deglase the cooked tomatoes. Sounds like a good idea, but is it worth the effort?

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Putting the tinned tomato trick to the test

For my test scenario, I bought a large tin of tomatoes and divided it into two equal portions. To judge the result, I decided to cook the simplest and also tastiest tomato sauce in the world: Marcella Hazan’s «Tomato sauce with butter and onions». I poured one half of the tomatoes straight into the pan and pre-cooked the other half, as described in the «Bon Appetit» recipe. I cooked both sauces at the same temperature and for the same amount of time: 45 minutes. I also added butter and onions at the same time. My choice of pasta: spaghetti. A classic.

The best tomato sauce in the world: butter, onions and tomatoes.
The best tomato sauce in the world: butter, onions and tomatoes.

My verdict

I simmered both sauces until they’d thickened. In the classic version – without pre-cooking the tomatoes – the chunks of tomato remained visible while the chunks in the pre-cooked version were much smaller and tastier. The sauce also had a better balance of flavours. I like this method, even if the tomatoes don’t taste «ten times» more intense, as advertised in the original article.

The pieces of tomato are larger in the traditional version ( on the left).
The pieces of tomato are larger in the traditional version ( on the left).
Die klassische italienische Küche (Marcella Hazan)
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Die klassische italienische Küche (Marcella Hazan)

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Simon Balissat
Simon Balissat
Senior Editor, Zurich
When I flew the family nest over 15 years ago, I suddenly had to cook for myself. But it wasn’t long until this necessity became a virtue. Today, rattling those pots and pans is a fundamental part of my life. I’m a true foodie and devour everything from junk food to star-awarded cuisine. Literally. I eat way too fast.

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