We have a lot of things to thank Julia Child for beyond the fact that she popularized French home cooking here in the U.S.
She made cooking cool. She pioneered a cooking show genre that has exploded into the countless cooking shows that eat up our time but feed our souls. She taught us that you don’t have to look like Giada De Laurentis to attract an adoring following. And then there was that part about spying against the Axis powers during WWII. (Lest you think I’m feeding you some fake news, here a credible source–The CIA (No. Not the Culinary Institute of America. The spies!) : https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2007-featured-story-archive/julia-child.html .
Julia also taught us to lighten up in the kitchen. Her obituary in the NY Times quotes this wonderful story: “Mr. Drummond, her producer, also debunks another myth. Mrs. Child never dropped a chicken or a turkey on ‘The French Chef.’ It was a potato pancake that flew onto the work table when she tried to flip it. She put it back in the pan, pressed it back into shape and said, ‘Remember, you are alone in the kitchen, and no one can see you.’ ”
So, I’m wishing you good luck making this marinara from Child’s collection of recipes. I suggest that you pretend that you are Julia Child, all six foot two of her, as you make the sauce. Have a good laugh while you are cooking. Keep your eyes open for the bad guys and remember, if you mess it up, you are alone in the kitchen and no one can see you.
Yields One quart
1 hr, 30 Total Time
- 1/4 C. olive oil
- 2/3 C. finely minced yellow onions
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 t. all-purpose flour
- 5-6 pounds ripe tomatoes (quartered)
- 1/8 t. sugar (more to taste)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- A large herb bouquet of 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme (tied in cheesecloth)
- 1/4 t. finnel seeds
- 1/2 t. dried basil, oregano, marjoram or savory
- Large pinch saffron threads
- 1 dozen coriander seeds (lightly crushed)
- 1 two-inch piece dried orange peel (I used fresh)
- 2-3 T. tomato paste (optional)
- Heat olive oil on medium-low heat in a large heavy pot. Sprinkle onions with salt and saute for about 10 minutes. You want the onions to be soft but not brown. Sprinkle flour into the pot over the onions, stir to mix and cook for about 3 minutes more (do not brown the flour mixture).
- Use a grating blade in your food processor. Push the tomatoes through the processor tube and through the grating blade to make a rough puree. (I left my tomatoes a bit chunky.)
- Stir tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, fennel, basil, saffron, coriander, orange peel and 1 teaspoon salt into the onion mixture. Cover and cook slowly for about ten minutes until the tomatoes give up their juices. Uncover and simmer for one hour. You want your sauce to be thick. Remove the herb bouquet and taste. Add salt, pepper, sugar and optional tomato paste. Stir.
This recipe was adapted from one that appeared on the NT Times food site. Here is the link: NYTimes: Julia Child’s Provencale Tomato Sauce.
You can buy the book here: Mastering The Art of French Cooking at Amazon.