From: Kristina’s Holiday Bookshelf 2020
Good Books by Local Authors for Reading and Giving
By Kristina Sepetys

EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL: A Memoir with Recipes by Phyllis Grant
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020

The Berkeley-based author of the popular blog-turned-Instagram account Dash and Bella, Food52 contributor Phyllis Grant describes her childhood in Berkeley, making her way after studying dance at Julliard, working at high-end kitchens in New York City, leaving New York for California after 9/11, becoming a mother, and sustaining herself and her family. Through it all, she cooks. This detailed, immersive, and transporting narrative also includes recipes.

Excerpted from Everything is Under Control: A Memoir With Recipes © 2020 by Phyllis Grant, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on April 21, 2020

This is not an ordinary, pour-from-the-jar sauce. This is a far more versatile, concentrated sauce base that I love to use in a zillion applications. I cook the tomatoes down for several hours, until they reduce by about half, resulting in a jam-like consistency. This is especially satisfying to make in the middle of winter when good tomatoes are nowhere to be found.

 

Photo, courtesy of Phyllis Grant, does not appear in the book.

 

Jammy Tomato Anchovy Sauce

Makes about 2½ cups

Two 28-ounce cans of diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with their juices
½ cup red wine
5 oil-packed anchovy fillets
3 cloves garlic, peeled and microplaned
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction, homemade or store-bought aged and thick balsamic
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons sherry or white wine vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few turns of black pepper
Pinch of Aleppo or red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat as low as possible to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, preferably until nearly all the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes have the consistency of a loose jam or a dense applesauce. Stir every 20 minutes or so to make sure the tomatoes don’t scorch. If the sauce base thickens too quickly or seems to be getting dry, add a bit of olive oil, wine, or water. The longer you let it simmer, the more intense it will taste. Remove the thyme sprigs. Season to taste. Depending on how chunky a texture you like, puree half or all the sauce with a hand blender or in a food processor. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 6 months.

A few things to do with this jammy goodness:

Dinner for 4: Cook 1 pound of pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve a large mugful of pasta water. Drain the pasta. Coat the pasta with 1 cup (or more) of Jammy Tomato Anchovy Sauce and as much pasta water as you need to loosen up the sauce and generously coat the noodles (start with ½ mug and keep adding). Put the remaining pasta water in a pitcher on the table. Serve this dish with any of the following toppings: pine nuts, chopped parsley, goat cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, balsamic reduction, breadcrumbs, coarse salt, capers, or olives.

Lunch for 1: Grill or toast some bread. Rub a peeled garlic clove all over the warm bread (it will disappear into the bread). Spread the bread generously with warm Jammy Tomato Anchovy Sauce. Top with an egg (poached or fried), a splash of olive oil, lemon zest, and coarse salt.

As a base for pizza: Spread the sauce over pizza dough and then top with slices of mozzarella and anchovy fillets. The moment you take the pizza out of the oven, top with a generous handful of baby arugula, a few splashes of olive oil, balsamic reduction, and toasted pine nuts.

As a condiment: Use on a sandwich instead of chutney or ketchup.