Tomate frito is a very simple cooked tomato sauce. It’s what gives Spanish dishes such as pisto and patatas bravas their rich, fruity flavour, without any acidity or extra liquid. It can be found in cartons at any Spanish supermarket, and many Spanish households cook exclusively with tomate frito, rather than chopped tomatoes.
When Sevi first came to live in the UK, he loved the variety of new foods that were sold at English supermarkets. Top hits were curry leaves, marmite and previously unknown root vegetables (celeriac anyone?). However, he could not get over the fact that no supermarket stocked the Spanish staple of tomate frito. From looking at other Spanish expat website, it seems that he is not alone in his search for tomate frito!
It’s incredibly easy to make tomate frito for yourself at home, so don’t worry that you can’t find it in the supermarket! It may sound like a hassle, but believe me, it is worth the extra saucepan on the stove. You can make tomate frito with fresh tomatoes if you have them on hand, but realistically, good quality fresh tomatoes are so expensive in England that it’s probably not worth using them – just pick up a tin of good quality chopped tomatoes.
Ingredients (makes 500g of tomate frito)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes (or 1kg fresh tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
75ml olive oil
- If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel them (using this method) and cut them into large chunks. If you are using a tin of tomatoes, go straight to step 2.
- Place the tomatoes, salt, sugar and olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 20 minutes, remove from the heat and blend with a handheld blender.