The other day at Sprouts I came across a new-to-me tomato product that turns out to be totally wonderful. Every time I hit Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods, I search for low-sodium canned tomato products, which are nonexistent in regular supermarkets. Although occasionally one or the other of these purveyors will stock a few cans of no-salt-added tomatoes, most days the pickings are slim. However, last week I came across this stuff:
The contents are billed as “strained tomatoes,” but the package copy natters on about how you can use it as pizza sauce. And, more to the point, it boasts NO ADDED SALT. It has nothing else added to it, either.
Well, after I’d brought this little box home, I decided nothing would do but what I should try to make these “strained tomatoes” into some kind of soup. After having tasted the product, expecting to find it saltlessly bland, I was astonished at the rich, zingy, full-bodied tomatoey flavor. This, I figured, could work.
Here’s how to go about this…
First get your hands on the following:
Pomì brand strained or chopped or peeled tomatoes
A fresh tomato, if you happen to have one that tastes like anything (otherwise, ignore)
About half an onion — more, if desired
A stick of celery, if you have some on hand.
One or two cloves of garlic
Dried herbs of your choosing (I used some herbes de Provence, but just about anything would do nicely)
A little water
Wine, if you happen to have some laying around (I used cheap red; white would do; sherry could be good)
Yogurt, sour cream, milk, or real cream, if desired
Coarsely chop the onion and the garlic. Skim the bottom of a deep frying pan or everyday pan with some olive oil. Gently cook the onion over medium or medium-low heat until it’s well softened and starting to brown. If you’re using celery, cook it along with the onion.
Add the garlic. Continue cooking, stirring now and again, until it releases its lovely aroma and softens a bit.
Add the box of Pomì tomatoes. If you’re using the strained tomato variety, you may want to thin a little with wine or water. Allow to cook for twenty minutes or so, until the flavors blend nicely. Remove the pan from the heat.
You can let this cool for awhile or, if you’re daring, proceed with care to the next step.
Ladle the cooked mixture into a blender jar. Don’t fill the jar more than about half full. Cover tightly and purée like mad. If the result seems too thick, add a little water or, if you want a creamed tomato soup, you can add some milk at this point. You also could thin it with chicken or beef broth, if you wished.
Collect the puréed soup in a bowl large enough to hold it all.
At this point, what you have is quite delicious. You now can add any number of goodies to it.
If you like creamed soup, mix in some milk, sour cream, yogurt, or actual real cream. I used yogurt and think I would not do so again — personally, I’m just not nuts about most creamed soups and thought the deeply flavored tomato broth was fine the way it came out of the pan. But it did provide a nice kick of calcium.
Other possible additions: cooked rice, pasta, quinoa, cooked beans. You can return the puréed tomato broth to the pan and add any number of veggies to it. Reheat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked to your taste. Chopped-up carrot is very good, as are sliced zucchini or other summer squash, corn, bell pepper, wilted spinach or other greens…it’s extremely versatile. Another nice addition is shrimp, which if raw you can simply cook through in the hot broth.
This turned out amazingly good, and I was vastly impressed by the salt-free, weird chemical-free, flavor-filled Pomì tomatoes. Selection at Sprouts is minuscule, but Amazon sells them by the 12-pack. I intend to buy some of those!