The first heirloom tomato sauce of the season, and it’s mine, all mine.
Fine, it can be yours, too, but this one’s not Italian. It’s Mexican. With shrimp. That’s odd -- why would there be seafood in a Mexican dish? Oh yeah, because of all that coastline. Bring on the fish, and while you’re at it, pass me some of that garlicky lobster from the Cueva del Pescador in Akumal (I gave the locals quite a laugh a few years back by referring to the restaurant as the Cuerva del Pescador, loosely translated to “Curvaceous Fisherman.”).
First, a tomato update. I’m working from my farmshare tomatoes since mine are all still green. Well, a couple of them have started blushing at the prospect of the sauces, and salsas, and soups, and salads they’re about to become. Maybe, if I keep whispering naughty things to them, they’ll embarrass faster…
My engineer husband has finally intervened on my tomatoes’ behalf. Since the plants have grown up and over any cage or stake I’ve thrown at them, I’ve done what any self-respecting lazy person would do and said, fine, have it your way. Slump over onto the ground for all I care. But, Husband is more tenderhearted than I, and after a pep talk and some kitchen twine (or something), he has since given them the support and encouragement they need to reach for the sky. You could say our parenting styles differ.
Now, he just has to stand up there and hold them up like that for a few more weeks, maybe a month. In the meantime, here’s a relatively quick sauce for shrimp that I serve over rice as often as I can.
Veracruz Tomato Sauce with Shrimp
It's sort of like a puttanesca sauce, minus the puta.
4-5 large ripe tomatoes (the uglier, the better)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1½ Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 small bay leaf
6 green olives, pitted, and quartered lengthwise
1 Tbsp. raisins, chopped
2 tsp. capers
1 tsp. fresh marjoram, chopped
3/4 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
Set rice to cook in a rice cooker. It’s your best friend.
Peel tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds, then submerging them in ice water. Cut out the core and the skins should peel right off. Remove the seeds and chop the tomatoes finely.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute more without browning. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, ½ tsp. of the salt, and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add olives, raisins, capers, and marjoram to sauce. Cook 1 minute more, stirring.
In a medium skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil over medium-high heat. Toss shrimp with remaining garlic and salt, and add to the hot pan. Sauté until shrimp are pink and coiled, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and parsley to the sauce, and stir. Serve over rice.
Source: Adapted from Gourmet.