FRENCH BREAD AND ITALIAN RED SAUCE
If lasagna could be a dessert and bread could be lasagna this would be both. Creamy Tomato Orange Sauce served over country-style French baguette!
Makes 10 cups sauce
16 oz. pkg. extra firm, water packed tofu, rinsed and drained
zest of 1 lg. orange; grate the peel over lg. holes of hand-grater
1 sm. yellow onion, peeled and coarsely cut
3-4 lg. peeled garlic cloves
1 t. salt
2 t. powdered sugar
3 T. coconut solids from a can of coconut milk
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
28 oz. can tomato sauce
28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes including liquid
1 t. dried basil
1 t. ground coriander
1 T. mild Hungarian paprika
2 t. brown sugar
½ t. ground allspice
¼ t. celery seed
1 loaf country style French baguette, sliced into ½ inch thick rounds
Orange Soy Cream:
Place tofu, orange zest, onion, garlic, salt and powdered sugar in food processor and process till creamy, pushing down insides of container with spatula as needed.
Add coconut solids and process till as creamy as you can get it, 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Tomato Cream Sauce:
In extra lg. skillet, over high heat, melt oil.
Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, basil, coriander, paprika, brown sugar, allspice and celery seed.
Stir will, then boil fiercely, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t be afraid we want it to cook hard.
Now, add 1 cup of the Orange Soy Cream slowly into the tomato sauce. Fold and stir, smoothly and slowly till the white sauce is pretty much incorporated into the red sauce, but not totally. When there are still a few white swirls left, turn the heat off. The sauce is done.
Broil one side of the French baguette rounds till golden and browned on some edges.
Place 3 on each serving plate. Top each with 1 ladle of tomato sauce. Top the tomato sauce with a heaping tablespoon of the remaining Orange Soy Cream from the processor. Drizzle a few drops of oil from the tomato sauce skillet where you’ll find some oil collecting, over the cream, just a few drops. Serve.
Notes: This is a basic tomato cream sauce that you can do a lot with. Top with chopped Kalamata olive; the pungent flavor of the olive will go nicely with the slight bitterness of the orange. Add tarragon and saffron for an ocean flavor. Try topping with caramelized onion. Add ground fennel seed for the taste of sausage and on and on.
I prefer using the country style French baguette for its denser texture compared to the regular variety. The key is fresh; don’t use stale bread thinking that because you’re broiling it, it won’t matter.
This was my first attempt at incorporating tofu into a tomato sauce, and in my family the tomato sauce is revered. The result was perfection, capturing the essence of ricotta and crème fraiche, using only the finest tomato products. I credit some of the success of this sauce to Dei Fratelli tomato products. They make whatever else you want to do with the sauce easy. A good foundation leads to good results. My second choice would be Hunts.
Leftover sauce: The next day I had a quart of sauce leftover. I heated it and tossed it with pound of cooked spaghetti, then topped each serving with some leftover Orange Soy Cream, then drizzled the cream with just a few drops of Grade A amber maple syrup. Delicious!
RE: COCONUT MILK SOLIDS: Purchase coconut milk that is not homogenized, where solids and water are mixed together in the can. You want the type where the solids are separated from the water, and appear at the top of the can when opened. Refrigerate can after you buy it, do not shake the can, open can, then very carefully skim off the top solids without poking a hole into the liquid below. The solids are the fat and that’s what we use in this recipe and in any other recipe calling for coconut solids.