San Marzano Tomatoes & Pizza Sauce
So, a couple of weeks ago I went searching for San Marzano tomatoes to use to make my pizza sauce with. First off I tried, ‘European Gourmet Cash & Carry’, Kempt road, Halifax. I don’t think they have a website, so HERE is a link to an Article in ‘The Coast‘, our own free weekly paper. Sorry, not here … but lots of stuff, I ended up buying some jaggery & frozen paneer, that’s for another day.
Think, Randy, think … oh yes, The Italian Market, down near the corner of Young and Kempt. e voilà! … yes, two brands … yikes $5.99. Well now, OK, one of each, and while I am here, why not some squid ink linguine. I guess this needs a good Italian wine. I eventually make it back home, not spending too much on supper and once I figured it out, cheaper than eating out.
This is the label from one of the cans.
The San Marzano tomato is Italy’s most famous plum tomato, grown in Campania, the home of pizza — since the middle ages. The tomato is prized for its tart flavor, firm pulp, red color, low seed-count and easily removed skin. It is widely used in both pizza and pasta, though recently it has become famous around the world as the base for Vera Pizza Napoletana. It’s interesting to note that Naples lays claim not only as the home of pizza, but also tomato-based pasta dishes — both enjoyed by local royalty in the 17th century.
The San Marzano tomato is now protected by tight rules, like many wines, cheeses and even Pizza Napoletana, obtaining the DOP (Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta) label in 1996 from the European Union for the processed product. Watch out for domestic imitators using the San Marzano name — it’s like calling jug wine “burgundy” or bulk sparkling wine “champagne.”
These great tomatoes are the perfect start to the perfect pizza. The harvest of the San Marzano usually begins in August and continues until the end of September and sometimes later. It is a delicate crop and mechanization is not used. The labor required to train the vines, and the hand picked harvest (the true San Marzano is harvested multiple times, only when the fruit is completely ripe, not all at once) are two elements that lead to an increase in production costs.
Still, I think it’s worth it. Take a796ml / 28oz can of imported San Marzano tomatoes, hit it with a potato masher, and you have the perfect pizza sauce.
A nice nobbly plum tomato
You can use canned San Marzano tomatoes (Pomodori Pellati) to create a wonderful, and simple pizza tomato base. Use a potato masher to get a good sauce consistency. Don’t use a food processor or hand mixer, as those will break the seeds and give your sauce a bitter flavor. If you are using a brick oven, you should not cook the sauce. The hot oven will cook the sauce perfectly. If you are using a pizza stone in your oven, you might want to try cooking the sauce first. Try it both ways to see what you like.
- 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 2 tablespoons of fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – don’t forget to swirl on your pizza right before you put it in the oven.
Time to eat
All this info comes from Forno Bravo, supplier of the finest Italian wood-fired pizza ovens for the house and garden, caterers, bakeries and restaurants.
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