Monday, May 25, 2009

The Joys of Tomato Paste

According to Wikipedia, tomato paste used to be a specialty product in Sicily. Apparently, the tomatoes would be layed out for a really long time on long boards until what was left was so darn thick, they rolled it up into a ball.

Now we find the concentrated tomato-y-ness in a can. For 89 cents.
It went like this: I knew I was going to sautee my greens today, but I knew that I also desired a different flavor component. The regular old olive oil and lemon was just not going to cut it. After a long while, I came to it: tomato. I wanted my greens with a rich tomato flavor. Off to the grocery store!
There I looked: cherry tomatoes! mmm fresh... 4.99 a container..forget it.... they began to wrinkle and turn brown before my eyes.
To the cans! I wanted it saucy anyway! A tiny can of tomato sauce! Not expensive, but corn syrup? Um. Not appropriate.
In fact almost every jar on the shelf contained sugar of some sort. Big disappointment.
Then I noticed the tiny little jars, the cheapest cans in all the aisle, the little Tomato Pastes. I turned the can around to observe the nutrition information.
"Ingredients: Tomato"
It was done.
One tablespoon spooned into my hot greens as they wilted did the most marvellous thing: formed a dense, luscious tomato GLAZE that clung to every leaf. None of the watery, flavorless fluid that pools on your plate if you used chopped or diced, no, no, this was glorious. A trimph.
For 89 cents. And I have at least three more tablespoons to use.

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