As summer ends and cooks turn their minds to the upcoming autumn, one of the best preserving times of the year is the making of Passat. In the last weeks of February there is usually an abundance of fresh plump cheap ripe tomatoes.
Having a stash of Passata allows one to have a fresh burst of summer in the cool of winter. The difference between tomato sauce and passata is that tomato sauce is cooked and passata is just pure tomato that has had the skins and seeds removed.
Start of by giving the tomatoes a good wash and dry. Next thing is to plunge them in boiling water to loosen the skin. A great technique is to use a potato masher to break the tomatoes up a little, put the pulpy tomatoes flesh through a food mill (like a mouille), this separates the skin and seeds from the pulp (try not to use a food processor).
The passata is bottled (it can be a bit chunky, which I find to be excellent), sealed and placed in a large pot (lined with tea towels and wedges of cardboard to stop the jars cracking as they boil). The pot is filled with water and boiled for a couple of hours to sterilise and preserve the passata. Care is required when removing the jars (or leave them to chill in the water) and store in a cool, dark pantry.
Late summer tomatoes are also fantastic for making the fabulous caprese salad.
Caprese salad should be made with the best tomatoes, soft and silky buffalo mozzarella and fragrant basil. Drizzled with aromatic extra virgin olive oil salt and a twist of black pepper!