There is nothing better than picking up sun warmed tomatoes and smelling them, scrutinizing their shiny skins for imperfections, thinking of ways to serve them.
~José Ramón Andrés Puerta(a/k/a José Andrés)

So little to be said about this sublime salad from the Island of Capri, found in the Tyrrhenian sea off the Sorrentine peninsula, on the south side of the gulf of Naples — a timeless tricolored culinary classic (sometimes).

INSALATA CAPRESE (CAPRESE SALAD)

2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 lb fresh mozzarella (di bufala if possible), sliced 1/4″ thick
1/4 C packed fresh basil leaves

3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

On a platter, alternately arrange fine quality tomato + mozzarella slices + basil leaves, overlapping them. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Pourboire: subtly shower with aged balsamic vinegar in lieu of extra virgin olive oil or better yet with the EVOO even though the two will not meld. Then again, add a few slices of fresh avocado or eggplant or try substituting arugula (with fresh oregano), kale, swiss chard, pesto, or watercress for your green.

TOMATO COULIS

1 lb red & yellow heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and sliced
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and cut
Sea salt, to taste

1-2 TB extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Raw sugar (turbinado)

Peel, seed, and slice the tomatoes into 2-3″ wedges, and drop in a food processor fitted with a steel blend or simply a blender. Process or blend on high speed with cut garlic until smooth. Pulse the food processor or turn the blender to low, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt, wine vinegar and raw sugar in dribbles as needed and pulse or blend low. Do not strain and refrigerate, if necessary, until ready to serve.

Commonly, tomato coulis is served underneath grilled, roasted or sautéed meats, fish or vegetables or even used as a dip for fritters, sandwiches or other finger fodder. Just a slightly subtle divergence from an earlier post.

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Over or Under? Coulis

June 23, 2012

Coulis is thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables (savory) or fruits (sweet).

From the Old French coleïs, from coleïz “flowing,” from the vulgar Latin cōlāticus, from Latin cōlātus, “filter, sieve or strain” which is derived from derived from the Latin word colum, “large intestine, colon.” Sounds appetizing, eh?

TOMATO COULIS

2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 T shallots, peeled and chopped

2 lbs red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 T thyme leaves
1 bay leaf

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add the garlic and shallots, and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, and discard the bay leaf. Allow sauce to cool to room temperature. Then, purée the sauce thoroughly in a food processor by pulsing. Place coulis in a fine sieve and let excess liquid drip through to a bowl. If too thick, whisk in enough of the drained liquid to reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

A savory coulis is traditionally served under the meat, fish, or vegetable dish — but this is not required reading.

BLUEBERRY COULIS

1 qt fresh blueberries
3 T sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice

Put 1 pint (one half) of the blueberries in a food processor with sugar and lemon juice. Purée, then strain with a colander, pressing on solids to drain excess juice. Add additional sugar and lemon juice to adjust to taste and then refrigerate.

Serve at room temperature. Stir in remaining whole fresh blueberries just before topping or…