June 3, 2011

Sourcing: That's Some Tomato

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan
Country living, with all of its upside, comes with a few disadvantages. The one-hour round trip to the nearest full-service grocery has put a halt to my former habit of running to the market on a whim for a few ingredients. I've always loved having a well stocked pantry, but living in the country, it becomes essential.

On the recommendation of Bon Appetit magazine (April 2011, page 124) in an article called Buy American Eat Italian, I ordered (among other things) a half-dozen Jersey Farms crushed tomatoes from Primizie Fine Foods in the Bronx. At some level, this goes against my "buy local" ethos to have foods shipped via Fed Ex across the country, but let me tell you how worth it this was for this pantry staple.
Items for a Happy Pantry
This is the best brand of canned tomato I've ever had. A fresh, sweet tomato scent popped up as I was opening the can. Super thick and rich, there was no watery separation of juice from the flesh. I could image spooning bites directly into my mouth, but instead, decided to gussy up the crushed tomatoes a bit first.
That's Some Tomato!
Primizie sent along in the box a recipe for a 5-minute marinara sauce, which I immediately whipped up. The only change I made was to saute half of a small onion in the olive oil with the garlic before proceeding, and adding a good big pinch of the oregano at the end:
Primizie's 5-Minute Tomato Marinara Sauce
I first used the sauce on a pizza, topped with house-made Italian sausage and some other things. It was superb.

With the remaining sauce, I made a version of Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan that I knocked off from Kay at My Home Cooked Meals. (Hers is a little prettier, and do check out her site... she's a great teacher!) The rich, fresh tomato sauce really shone in this dish. Thanks, Kay, for the great idea.

 LaVelle Vineyards, a nearby Willamette Valley winery, produces a Bordeaux blend from Columbia Valley grapes. 2008 Trilogy (Merlot, Cab Sauv and Cab Franc) has the unique huskiness of Hungarian oak, and stands up nicely to red-sauced pasta dishes or most anything off the grill. Yes, my tomatoes were from far, far away, but the wine, at least, was home-grown.

 LaVelle Vineyards 2008 Trilogy

Back to Primizie Fine Foods. The Italian oregano and salt-packed anchovies (which I am enjoying as I write this, on a nice Romaine salad) that arrived are also stellar; just as lovely as the tomatoes. I had a question regarding my invoice, and a quick call to Becky at Primizie resulted in a friendly, quick answer. It means something to me when a company treats me like a valued customer, and that is definitely the way things are at Primizie. Even though I paid a small fortune to have heavy canned tomatoes shipped across the country, I will do it again for the quality and service they offer. Do give them a try.

12 comments:

  1. I may have to investigate those tomatoes! They look rich! But I love eggplant in any form. So I'm happy to try your deconstructed eggplant parmesan! It looks delicious! : )

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  2. One hours drive is too much !! I like this eggplant dish .. I like them crispy fry .. this looks great..

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  3. I'm honored that you liked my eggplant so much that you decided to make it too:o) Thanks for letting me know! Those canned tomatoes look so good, I may just have to order some for myself. I'm still jealous of all the local stuff you get in your neighborhood!

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  4. Sorry, I was so excited that you used my idea that I forgot to tell you how great your dish looks! Your pasta looks especially good!!

    I also know what you mean about mail ordering some stuff even when it's heavy is worth it...I mail order my pickled jalapeno peppers;o)

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  5. Ooh, that brand of canned tomatoes looks absolutely amazing! I think I'm going to have to look into that. As for your dish... that's some major scrumptiousness! Thank you for sharing it with us :-)

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  6. Very tasty looking dish! Glad you find a crushed tomato that you like so much :) The wine sounds delish as well, perfect with the eggplant. Well done!

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  7. Thanks for the tip on the crushed tomatoes. They do look amazing. I wonder how hard it would be to can them once they start coming in the garden.

    Anyhow, the dishes you made look delectable. I'm headed over to look at the other deconstruction, but I think yours looks great.

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  8. Your dish looks scrumptious, Pam!! It's so worth it to have quality ingredients to start. We order so many things - Andria's Steak Sauce, peppadew peppers... I have a whole shelf allotted to the cases of goodies! I'm thinking of ordering some of those salt-packed anchovies too!! Kate @ kateiscooking

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  9. Hi Pam! Kay told me you cooked her Eggplant Parmesan so I came here! After I saw Kay's post, I also cooked Eggplant Parmeasn but with meat sauce (as my husband prefer having meat/fish in the main dish). Your Eggplant Permeasn looks great!! I'm sure Kay was very happy. After looking at yours, I thought I should have put more cheese on mine.... Looks great!

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  10. That Eggplant Parmesan looks fabulous! I'm a big fan, but the husband doesn't like eggplant(!), so I'll have to save this for a very special just-me dinner.

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  11. Sometimes it is worth violating a local ethic to get a good product. Most of the wines I make do require shipping of ingredients, but in the end I am shipping much less than 30 bottles in volume plus the glass so it saves a lot. When I make the local strawberry though the cost goes way down!

    Jason

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  12. Wow - the dish looks amazing! I like the idea of local when you can get it, but no sense in doing without. The tomatoes looked amazing! Beautiful blog!

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