Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Gastronomically yours,

I wrote a previous article on tomatoes back in the summer showcasing the benefits of using fresh tomatoes in salads. I have to revisit using tomatoes once more before this growing season ends simply because we truly get to enjoy them twice during their growing season

 When tomatoes first come into season in late July to early August we start harvesting and using them in any number of fresh salad like preparations. Now as we watch the frost line slowly working its way down the province it’s time to finish harvesting things from the garden and this includes bringing in all of your tomatoes. I recently received a bushel of Roma tomatoes from a friend that were grown in the Lakefield area.

 Tomatoes that are left on the vine to fully ripen develop higher levels of sugar and acidity that combine with the aroma compounds to give us a fruit that exhibits a rich meaty flavour, with a high liquid content, very soft flesh, and the right internal composition that will naturally thicken up into a sauce when they are cooked.

A simple tomato sauce can consist of chopped tomato flesh cooked in a little olive oil   and simmered  for ten to fifteen minutes and then seasoned with fresh cracked pepper and salt.

 When I make a tomato sauce using fresh naturally ripened tomatoes I choose to leave the the tomato skins and seeds in because the jelly that holds the seeds to the pith is high in naturally occuring sugars and helps balance the acids found in the rest of the fruit itself. Optionally you can peel and seed your tomatoes for this recipe but keep in mind that you will need up to an extra five pounds of tomatoes to replace the wasted product as well you may need to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to replace those lost in the seed jelly. I can be a bit lazy which is why I choose to skip the canning process of my tomato sauce and prefer to freeze it in zip-lock freezer bags that can be labeled for easy identification. By laying the bags flat during the freezing process I can organize my freezer more like a book shelf and optimize every inch of my freezer space. This recipe makes for a delicious chunky tomato sauce. It can easily be made into a smooth sauce by pureeing the finished sauce with an immersion blender.

When cooking tomatoes for sauce you may choose to add some water or wine to keep them from drying out or becoming to thick. I will usually use a lighter red wine like a cabernet sauvingnon or a white wine such as a reisling which exhibit balanced sweetness and acidity. When making a tomato soup or stew like Cioppino I prefer to use an equal amount of both red and white wines as it make for a great balance of flavours.

 

Chef Brian’s Tomato Sauce

7 cups sliced button mushrooms

3 cups diced onions

2 tablespoon dried basil

3 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoons dried dill weed

5 bay leaves

6 tablespoons of minced garlic

One-third cup of olive oil

2 cups of red or white wine

1 cup of water

30 pounds of tomatoes cored and diced

3 cups Parsley coarsely chopped

4 cups of green onions cut into one-inch length pieces

 

In a 20-liter heavy bottomed pot over medium heat sauté the mushrooms, onions, garlic and herbs in the olive oil for 10 minutes stirring regularly. Next pour in the wine and water. Allow the mixture to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.  Now add the diced tomatoes. Allow the sauce to return to a simmer and then cook for an additional 30-40 minutes stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in parsley and green onions.

If you prefer a smoother sauce now is the time to puree the mixture with an immersion blender until desired consistency. Allow sauce to cool for one hour still stirring it occasionally. Portion the sauce into pre- labeled freezer bags and freeze. 

 

Gastronomically yours,

 

Chef Brian Henry

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