The following is a guest post about Tesoro Tomatoes from Ruthy of Omeletta blog.
I reserve my typically unabashed tomato-loving for the end of summertime, when tomatoes are at their ripest and most flavorful. It’s then that I eat tomatoes with abandon, as if I’ll never have them again. Once you’ve compared a fat summer tomato with its watery, flavorless wintertime counterpart, you’ll never make the same mistake again.
So, when I was approached to review Tesoro tomatoes by Kitchen PLAY, I’ll admit I paused for a skeptical minute. Tomatoes now, in the winter? As far as I’m concerned, tomatoes are for summertime salads and hot afternoons spent canning, frantically preserving their freshness. But cooking in November and December with fresh tomatoes? Not my jam.
Tesoro tomatoes claim to be different from their watery, wintertime counterparts. Tesoro tomatoes are described as having “all meat and no gel”. While I didn’t find this to be exactly the case – there is some gel, although it’s less than you would typically find – the meat-to-seeds ratio lies heavily on the meaty end. Bred to be thick and sturdy, yet full of flavor, these tomatoes promise quite a lot. Namely, says Tesoro, “Thick and robust sauces and sautés, chunky and never watery salsa and bruschetta, sandwiches that don’t get soggy, (and) baked or grilled halves or slices hold their shape”. I wanted to see if these outliers lived up to their hype.
My first test of a Tesoro tomato was a plain one; sliced, with a sprinkle of salt. The Tesoro tomatoes were lovely this way; though they didn’t exactly rock my world, the slices I enjoyed were slightly sweet and held their shapes even as I mangled them with the side of a fork.
My next assessment was to add them to a sandwich that would then be carried in my handbag through a number of errands before I’d get a chance to eat. I added Tesoro tomato slices to a turkey sandwich, which was then wrapped in plastic and carried in my bag for a few hours as I ran around town. The sandwich got slightly smashed from a packed ride on the New York subway, and it did make the bread a bit soggy. I’ll blame that more on the press of bodies in a crowded train than I will for a possibly unsatisfactory tomato, but I wasn’t so sure the Tesoro tomato was totally blameless.
My real test, however, was in a big batch of tomato sauce. I was leaving my husband alone for a few weeks while I went to visit family, and a few plastic containers of tomato sauce always come in extra handy to help him throw together quick meals after work. I spent an afternoon boiling and stewing tomatoes, and ended with a huge pot of tomato sauce that I seasoned only with some sea salt and a splash of olive oil.
This sauce is where the Tesoro tomato truly shines. Pleasingly acidic, with a big tomato flavor and, after only two hours of simmer time, the perfect viscosity to be folded into pasta for dinner, I was more than happy with the end result. Occasionally, while cooking with subpar tomatoes, I’ll throw a sneaky bit of tomato paste in to up the flavor, and simmer extra-long in order to get the perfect texture. Thankfully, there was no need for undercover tactics with the Tesoro sauce. It came together quickly and easily, and before long I was able to can three big, delicious jars of the stuff, which will more than come in handy over the next few months.
In the end, for all my skepticism, Tesoro tomatoes definitely came through for me. I may not have completely turned a corner in my usual suspicion of winter-time tomatoes, but the next time I find myself out of season and needing tomatoes to cook with, Tesoro tomatoes will be the first on my list.
This article was written in conjunction with the Kitchen PLAY Equity Exchange program. This article does not contain sponsored content.
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