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Thread: Canned Certified San Marzano tomatoes vs. "normal" whole peeled canned tomatoes

  1. #1
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    Canned Certified San Marzano tomatoes vs. "normal" whole peeled canned tomatoes

    I have finally made a pasta sauce I like (lindrusso's marinara is always too thick for me) by making the one from Bittman's original book. Many many thanks to Bob for pointing it out on a thread here sometime ago!!!

    He calls for crushing whole canned tomatoes and deseeding if you want (which I do).

    I bought a can of certified San Marzano tomatoes at $3.29/can and was wondering if they really warrant the price difference between all the other brands that range from $0.99/can to $1.59/can.

    The SM's were packed in a much thicker juice - not puree but almost - and seemed to be bigger than their cheaper counterparts.

    but do they taste different? Are they really 3x better?

    I wanted to make a pasta sauce out of just the SM's to try a taste test but I've never been in a position to just use one can of tomatoes and I only bought one. So I just combined them with a "regular" can and now I won't know.
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  2. #2
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    A good brand of San Marzano tomatoes are smoother, sweeter and less acidic than other tomatoes.

    I've been searching out San Marzanos for many years now and really find they make a huge difference in sauces.

    The current brands I can get are Strianese and Emma. Both are very good.

  3. #3
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    Many of the folks on pizzamaking.com swear by them, but will warn you that not all San Marzanos, even D.O.P. ones, are created equal.

    Here's one thread where some folks talk about their preferences. You can scan around that part of the board (sauce ingredients) for others' recommendations as well. There are some very good brands out there that are less expensive alternatives, especially if you're adding a lot of other flavors to the sauce or recipe.

    If I was doing a very simple pizza (like Neapolitan or a minimally-topped NY Style) or tomato sauce like marinara, I think they are worth it, because the tomato is a primary flavor in the dish. If I was making a meat sauce, a baked pasta, etc., I'd use something less costly.

    Michelle

    ETA there are San Marzanos and San Marzanos. Unless it says "D.O.P" certified on the label, they aren't the ones from the specific region in Italy. And then there's also a canned tomato BRAND called "San Marzano", which if I remember from pizzamaking.com isn't even a real San Marzano tomato but a regular plum tomato. You have to read the labels closely to be sure.
    Last edited by mkc; 02-08-2009 at 03:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    Yes, San Marzano are far pricier than regular canned tomatoes. I would place them in the category of "What you pay is what you get". Less water/"juice" to either drain or cook down for a longer time & less tomato paste to thicken any sauces or stews. The All-American Chili does not come out watery.
    I like my sauces thick and my soups too. Thus my pantry is filled with San Marzano tomatoes (both whole and chopped).
    Excellent flavor is a bonus, like when I make Tomato Corn Chowder. If I couldn't find this brand, I would have to re-write quite a few of my recipes.
    We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
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  5. #5
    I find the San Marzano tomatoes make a big difference in how acidic tasting my sauce is. I grew up not too far from you and my grandmother made a pot of sauce and meatballs every Sunday and exclusively used San Marzano tomatoes and she never added sugar.

    I didn't realize the difference until I began making it myself and moved to an area where they are very hard to find.

    3.29 is a bargain I found some Cento DOP here and they wanted 4.79 a can.
    Maria

  6. #6

    Cool

    Yes, $3.29 seems a great bargain to me as well.

    Absolutely, they are worth the price though. Lovely, lovely tomatoes when you want flavors to shine with as little adornment as possible. In this house, we are on a Neopolitan pizza kick, so it's all about the best canned tomatoes we can find and the best buffalo mozzarella.

    Sorry. Must go. Drooling on keyboard.

  7. #7
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    Who knew $3.29 was a bargain? They are Cento DOP's.

    I read that thread from the pizzamaking website. Wow - people are really into their tomatoes! I wanted to check my can to see if there was a serial number on it but DH had already gotten the bag out to the trash.

    My sauce turned out well also, even mixed with regular tomatoes. One of these days I'll splurge on 2 cans of the DOPs and make a whole sauce out of just that. Or a margherita pizza.
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gracie View Post
    Who knew $3.29 was a bargain? They are Cento DOP's.
    I am Sooooo..... jealous! I'm hoping to make a trip to east Dallas to check out a place called Jimmy's that is supposed to have an excellent tomato selection.


    I read that thread from the pizzamaking website. Wow - people are really into their tomatoes!
    Poke around and read all about cheese, flour, and all the different dough experiments (especially anything Pete-zaa writes, the guy is a fantastic pizza "scientist"). I have learned so much from the board, not just about pizza but about all aspects of yeasted products.

    And I now have some All-Trumps unbleached, Caputo 00 flour, and Grande cheese on order from PennMac so I can join in the fun....

    Michelle

  9. #9
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    I know that Tyler Florence recommends the San Marzano. I guess that I never realized how special they are. So pardon my ignorance, but what does DOP mean?
    Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili...Harry James

  10. #10
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    From www.pizzamaking.com glossary:

    D.O.P./DOP: An abbreviation for Denominazione d'Origine Protetta, or "denomination of protected origin." This mark is guaranteed by the European Community (EU) and was created to promote the authenticity and artisan characteristics of certain food and agricultural products. These products are split into the categories of cheese, fruit and vegetables, salumi (or meats), and olive oils. A DOP certification guarantees that a product and all phases of production for that product have been carried out in a strictly defined geographic area which, in some cases, can be just a small cluster of villages. Among the pizza related ingredients that are often covered under the D.O.P. mark are San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheeses, olive oils, prosciutto di Parma, grana padano, pecorino Romano, and Parmiggiano Reggiano cheeses.

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