food porn, marinara edition

2012-07-25-00111

Posting a recipe for marinara is admittedly silly, since few things are probably as well-documented, and marinara is not exactly brain surgery. But, for the sake of documenting what I did, here it is. What good is the Internet if we can’t endlessly analyze and document the most trivial of processes? Also, pictures.

  1. Ingredient 1: a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, peeled and (mostly) seeded.
  2. I used the method for peeling and seeding where you score the tomatoes, blanche for 15-20 seconds and then chill in ice water bath. Peel them, and then put the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl (to save the precious, precious juice) and use your fingers to pierce/seed the tomatoes. Strain the seeds, saving as much of the juice and meat as you can, toss the seeds, combine with the tomatoes. Don’t sweat getting every little seed, but try to get the bulk of them, as they can add bitterness and they get stuck in your teeth.
  3. Ingredients 2 and 3: garlic and onions.
  4. Ingredient 3: basil.
  5. Sauté garlic and onions in olive oil and high heat until soft/translucent.
  6. Cool/deglaze with white wine and/or water. I used some leftover sauvignon blanc, but typically I’d pick something less sweet. Add tomatoes/juice. Add water to cover as necessary.
  7. Season with basil and oregano (I had no fresh oregano, so I used dried.). Oooooor, do this at the end, closer to serving time. See notes below.
  8. Bring it all back to near a slow boil (I never let it get too hot because I was paranoid about burning the basil/bitterness). Simmer on low. I let this simmer for around 20 hours, covered, and then removed the cover to start boiling off water content.
  9. The result after around 24 hours.

Notes:

  • The heirloom tomatoes I got had the “green shoulders” or whatever the term is — a much more fibrous/green stem area at the top. Rather than meticulously trimming it away, I just dumped the tomatoes in whole and worried about the stems after it cooked down a bit (fished out each top, trimmed away most of the meat, and tossed the stem). Tedious, but not a big deal. Worth it for the flavor of these tomatoes, in my opinion.
  • Only after I got everything stewing did it occur to me that I’ve heard that basil can get bitter if you cook it too long. I rolled with it anyway. After around 24 hours of total cooking, I didn’t notice any bitterness imparted. Possible theories: I don’t notice or don’t mind whatever bitterness it imparted? Maybe basil only gets bitter when cooked too hot, and not necessarily long? Maybe the whole thing is bunk. I don’t know. But it seemed fine. Add the basil at the end if you’re worried about this.
  • It was pretty damn good. Anyone have any suggestions for improvement?
  • http://stevencwarren.com/ Steven

    Add at least 1x if not 2x the amount of fresh spices at the very end (mainly basil and lots of italian parsley) with maybe 5 minutes left. That way it will impart a whole layer of fresh spices that goes well with the marinara. Also, a pinch of light brown sugar or turbinado helps smooth out the acidity of the tomatoes.

    Lastly, probably because I am a dork, I like making a Coulis over straight marinara since its texture makes it a little more versatile. That way you can cook the tomatoes with a rough chop and then you can use an immersion hand blender to smooth it out near the end.

  • http://stevencwarren.com/ Steven

    Also, I forgot to say that it looks delicious. 

  • http://www.superbrecipes.com/beverages/ Aks_rose_cpl

    Hey your recipe looks delicious! And I agree that internet is our expression of the most trivial of things we do. I once made my own cocktail out of scratch with leftovers in various bottles and boy! did it turn out to be fantastic!

  • http://www.superbrecipes.com/low-calorie-recipes/ low calorie recipes

    The quality of tomatoes really matters in some recipes. I prefer large and slightly tight tomatoes with little pulp for my stuffed tomatoes recipe. I sometimes also bake the stuffed tomatoes to make it a low calorie recipe.