Thursday, June 21, 2012

Simple Sauces Part 1–Tomato Coulis

This is the first in a series of quick and easy sauces to jazz up any dish.
The June 20th edition of the New York Times had an article on coulis in their Good Eating section. A coulis is supposed to be a sauce that is beautiful as well as tasty. Since I've never made a "fancy" sauce before, I decided to give it a shot.
I decided to make my coulis with tomatoes, which were literally the only produce we had in the house beyond scallions and arugula, to go with some leftover chicken my parents brought home from a restaurant. I was improvising most of the time, since the Times used bell peppers. I actually had no clue if this would work or just explode in my face. (I have no clue how that would work either.) So without further ado, here is my tomato coulis.

Tomato Coulis


2 large tomatoes
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
To my knowledge, my brothers have never made olive oil. I wish they would.
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Seasonings: Salt, pepper, cayanne, cumin
Chicken broth (optional)


Roast tomatoes over a burner or under a broiler until soft.
Place in a brown paper bag to cool.
I assume a white paper bag would work too.
While tomatoes are cooling, roast garlic in a small skillet over medium heat until skin is blackened and clove is soft.
Peel garlic and tomatoes and cut tomatoes into quarters.
Place everything except for seasonings and broth in a blender and pureé until smooth.
Season to taste and blend to mix in spices. If pureé is too thick, add chicken broth. If you like, strain through a fine mesh strainer or chinois. If it becomes too watery after straining, mix solids back in.

Pretty? Yes.
Tasty? Depends.
It was a nice orange color, but I used a full tablespoon of vinegar in mine, which was too much for me. As a sauce for my chicken, it was too strong to use a lot of, although it provided a nice kick when I used a little. It made a great sauce for a veggie stir-fry we had the next day, and my mom said it made a great salad dressing. (She didn't mind the vinegar; she actually ate it as a soup!) Next time, though, I'm either going to use the half tablespoon of vinegar or make a fruit coulis. It really depends on your preferred tastes. Also, I would highly recommend using a broiler to roast your tomatoes because I almost killed myself trying to roast them over a burner.
I dropped it multiple times and almost sent it flying across the room once.

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