Tomato sauce , is the common term for all those sauces which are prepared primarily using tomatoes. Most of these sauces are usually served as a part of a dish or they are used as a condiment. Tomato sauce is usually teamed with vegetables and meat, and is also served as a dip for fried foods.
Tomatoes have enriched flavor, contain high liquid content, with a soft flesh (it can be peeled off very easily) due to which it gets cooked to the right composition in minimum time. All these characteristics of tomatoes make them an ideal material for preparing the sauce. Various differences are found in the preparatory methods and compositions of tomato sauces cooked throughout the world.
Features of a Tomato Sauce
The simplest and non –cooked tomato sauce is the Italian checca sauce. Most of the other variants of tomato sauce are prepared by cooking the tomatoes with various ingredients. In a simplest way the tomato sauce is prepared by cooking the fleshy tomatoes in olive oil with little salt. Another simplest way of cooking the sauce is to thin the tomato paste with water.
While preparing the sauce from tomatoes - wine, water, or stock is usually added to the cooking tomatoes to save it from drying. Garlic and onions are the other ingredients which are regularly found in most of the tomato sauces.Some typical seasonings like parsley, basil , and oregano are used for flavoring the sauce. The spiciness of the sauce is increased by the addition of ingredients like black pepper or red pepper. Sometimes chopped meat is also added to the sauce.
This sauce is known as ketchup in America and it is used as a condiment. In many Commonwealth countries it is known as tomato sauce and is served as a dipping sauce. The british use both these terms for a popular condiment.
Many chefs choose flavorful and meatier tomatoes for making the sauce. Plum tomatoes are the popular choice for making sauce. Tomato sauce is usually sold in jars or cans and home cooks seal it in bottles or jars depending on the time frame upto which they are expected to last.
Tomato Sauce Recipe Variants
- Catsup or Ketchup – This is a popular condiment in many American countries. It is typically prepared using ingredients like vinegar, tomatoes, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugar. It is seasoned with ingredients like allspice, onions, cloves, celery and garlic. In France, this sauce is teamed with French fries and in many of the American countries this sauce is served as an accompaniment for fried or grilled meat, sandwiches and hamburgers.
- Tomate Sauce – This is a classic French Tomato sauce prepared by cooking the tomatoes with unusual ingredients like onions, salt belly of pork, thyme, bay leaves, fresh tomatoes, or tomato puree, garlic, roux, sugar, salt, and pepper.
- Arrabiata Sauce – This is a most popular Roman variant of sauce prepared using tomatoes and chilies. Arabbiata in Italian refers to hot or angry mood. It can be teamed with any plain pasta based dish. The principle ingredients used in the preparation of this sauce variant are tomato paste, tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes. The tomato is cooked with onions, garlic, chopped red pepper, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes. Traditionally, this sauce is cooked without meat, but meats like sausage, are found in many recipes.
- Marinara Sauce – This is a very popular variant of Italian tomato sauce prepared by cooking the tomatoes with herbs and onions. This sauce variant is considered bit spicier than the regular tomato sauces. Large numbers of chili pepper, garlic, basil and oregano are added to the dish. It is mostly used to enrich the flavor of ziti or linguiti. Marianara sauce is also served as an accompaniment for chicken fillet sandwich – in place of the mayonnaise sauce. This sauce is believed to have originated in Naples and it was discovered as a means to preserve the tomatoes under adverse conditions. In ancient times, Italian mariners packed the Marinara sauce for long sea voyages.
- Puttanesca Sauce – It is a very popular variant of tomato sauce, which is prepared with ingredients like capers, anchovies, chili peppers, garlic and black olives.
- Bologonese Sauce – This variant of sauce is prepared by cooking the tomato with ground meat or minced meat.
- Salsa Tomato de verde – This is a popular variant of Tomato sauce which is of Mexican - Spanish origin. This green sauce is prepared by cooking or pureeing the green tomatoes with chilies, cilantro, white onion, and is flavored with lime. Salsa tomato is served warm or cold as per the eater’s requirement. This sauce variant is usually used for dipping tortilla chips or it is served with various kinds of grilled meats and fish.
- Sauce Piquante – This spicy variant of sauce prepared using tomatoes is a typical feature of Louisiana Cajun cuisine. Unlike its typical Italian version this sauce variant is enriched with many types of meats. Celery, bell pepper, and onion are added for flavoring this sauce.
- Tomatar ki Chutni – Indians prepare their tomato sauces by cooking the ripened tomatoes in a little olive oil and mixing it with other heavy spices. Tomato base is used for making many stews, curries, etc. The chutney preparation largely varies from area to area.