Friday, October 21, 2005

Contest: Tomato Sauce Trivia

The answer to yesterdays contest comes from Harold McGee's masterpeice On Food and Cooking (page 330 for those reading along).

"Because tomato leaves have a pronounced fresh-tomato aroma thanks to their leaf enzymes and prominent aromatic oil glands, some cooks add a few leaves to a tomato sauce toward the end of cooking, to restore its fresh notes."

Which can be added to tomato sauce (towards the end of cooking) to restore its fresh notes?

A. Basil
B. Tomato leaves
C. Parsley
D. Mint

As to those who thought the leaves poisonous, according to McGee, tomato leaves have long been considered potentially toxic because of the alkaloid tomatine. But recent research shows that that tomatine binds to cholesterol molecules in our digestive system, so we absorb neither the alkaloid nor the cholesterol. In fact, ingesting the leaves reduces cholesterol!

Honorable mention to the vodka answer, tomatoes do contain alcohol-solvent flavors that are only released by the addition of alcohol, which is why adding wine or vodka to tomato sauce adds more flavor than you might think...

Congratulations to the winners, kitchenmage, Ginger and Barbara your copies of Very Pesto will be on their way to you shortly.