Tis the Season for Tomatoes!

Season’s Greetings from “The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe” team! “Greatest Tomatoes from Europe” is not a specific BRAND but the slogan of a campaign co-financed by the European Commission promoting preserved (canned) tomatoes 100% Made in Europe. Known for their Rich Flavor, Tradition and Quality.

Throughout America, Christmas is red–red and green, red and white, red and silver. In fact, when the red decorations start showing up, we know the season is upon us. Our beautiful European preserved tomatoes: the most scarlet of reds, so red they even TASTE red! – look so festive on the holiday table and taste so refreshing. For a little something green? How about a sprig of basil? Not only do the tomatoes lighten and brighten the holiday table, they are a great antidote to so many of the season’s indulgent dishes which can be heavy, brown, or very sweet.

In Europe – home of our beautiful tomatoes – we have several customs for both Christmas and New Year: one, to bring good luck; two, to bring good health. In this spirit, we are sharing two recipes: may our Greatest Tomatoes bring you a Healthy New Year with abundant Good Luck!

Good Health: Tomatoes are naturally low in sugar and fat–a good antidote to the heavier, more indulgent foods of the season. They are also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, minerals, fiber and antioxidants (lycopene, especially, is known for its sun protection, improved heart health and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.). Each 100 grams (about 3 ½ ounces) contain 10 mg lycopene, higher than fresh tomatoes.

Good Luck: Serving fish and seafood for Christmas and New Years has long been tradition throughout Europe; in fact, the festive table is a veritable feast of the sea. The entire holiday season features much seafood, and little meat, in keeping with this deep-held belief.
So, let’s celebrate together: you, your friends and family, and our beautiful European tomatoes. We offer you two celebratory recipes: Octopus braised with tomato sauce, in a very local way, turning out tender and savory, in a bright perky sauce. And Spaghetti with Lobster–the luxurious, sweet flesh of the lobster with the light and invigorating brightness of rich tomatoes: without this dish, could it even be New Year’s Eve?

* 12 oz spaghetti
* 1 lobster (about 1 1/2 lbs in weight)
* 7 oz canned chopped tomatoes
* ½ onion
* 1 carrot
* 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
* salt to taste

In a deep saucepan, sauté the finely chopped onion and carrot
in a little oil and then add the chopped tomatoes and cook at a
medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the whole lobster, still alive,
and cover, turn down the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
Take the lobster from the pan and cut it into pieces using
poultry shears, put it back in the saucepan
and cook for another 8 minutes. In the meantime,
cook the spaghetti al dente in plenty of boiling salted water,
drain and toss in a frying pan with the lobster sauce.
Serve immediately piping hot.

* 1 1/4 lbs octopus
* 18 oz canned cherry tomatoes
* 4 garlic cloves
* a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* salt and black pepper to taste
* 1 fresh hot chili
* 1 tablespoon of Pantelleria capers
* 2 tablespoons of Gaeta olives
* 4 slices of French bread (baguette)

First clean each octopus (if not already cleaned when bought), open up the head at the side and remove the innards. Then remove the eyes and beak, wash each octopus very well under running water to remove any sand residue, especially between the suction cups of the tentacles. Clean the inside of the head very well which will be used for the filling. Before starting cooking, fill the head of each octopus with a few whole olives, parsley, two cloves of garlic, half the capers and close with one or two toothpicks; then put the octopus to cook head down in a large saucepan with a little oil, fresh chili pepper, ground pepper, and a little chopped garlic; when the octopus are
well browned, lower the heat and cook for about 30 minutes.

With this cooking method, the skin of the octopus tends
to remain attached, without coming undone.
In the meantime, in another saucepan, heat a little oil
and sauté 2/3 chopped garlic clove, add the cherry tomatoes
and salt lightly. Cook for about 20 minutes, crushing them to lose
water. After the initial cooking time for the octopus, when
it is tender, add the remaining olives and capers and
a handful of chopped parsley; then about halfway
through cooking the tomatoes add them to the octopus
and continue cooking for another 20/25 minutes.
At this point prepare the toasted bread: cut the slices of bread
diagonally and toast them in the oven at 350°F for 5/7 minutes.
Serve the octopus in a deep dish, covered with its sauce,
accompanied with the slices of toasted bread.
And do not forget to visit our website: https://greatesttomatoesfromeurope.com/recipes ; if you are very good, Santa (or, in Italy, la Befana) might bring you a lovely 2020 calendar complete with luscious recipes and photos. To download our GTFE app on App store or Google Play.
Have a Happy Holiday season, with our wonderful tomatoes–and look forward to a delicious New Year filled with good luck and robust health!
Enjoy. It’s from Europe!