Canned heat

In working through my collection of foreign canned goods and dried produce, I came across these canned cherry tomatoes that I brought back from Italy two years ago.

Canned cherry tomatoes are vastly superior to any other canned tomato, even San Marzanos. They have a pulpy intensity and balanced sweetness, where the big guys tend to fall mainly in the acidic, watery part of the spectrum. A little cursory googling suggests that canned cherry tomatoes aren’t totally unknown on these shores, but I have yet to see them on the shelves. Why they haven’t quite caught on here is a mystery to me.

I don’t remember where I picked up the Lina cans. When I was living in Italy, I used the Coop house brand, which were especially good for bucatini all’amatriciana. (Above, a weeknight variation that includes pork shoulder, sliced and sautéed with guanciale before being stewed with tomatoes and onions.)

I suppose part of the reason I’m no longer holding onto all these treasures is that I’m headed back that way in a couple of months, empty suitcases in tow. And perhaps this is also the year that I’ll can some of my own.

Update: I stopped by BuonItalia tonight on the way to Molly‘s booksigning, and saw that they carry La Valle canned cherry tomatoes. I didn’t pick up a can since I was traveling light, but I know where to find them now. I bet they would be good on pizza.


4 Responses to “Canned heat”

  1. 1 Sarah C April 6, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    In Canada, Loblaws, a supermarket chain, carries canned cherry tomatoes:

    I’ve never made direct comparisons, but these are imported from Italy and sold under the house brand of the store…so I am guessing they are pretty close in flavour…

  2. 2 Sarah C April 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Also, something pretty wild: I bumped into a high school friend of mine, Anne St-Amand, in Toronto in February. I hadn’t seen her in years…turns out, she is David Szanto’s cousin!! Crazy! I never knew him well, but I knew of him…Anyway, just thought of this as I was writing the comment on cherry tomatoes!

  3. 3 winyang April 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    That’s totally crazy! The world’s getting smaller all the time.

  4. 4 carla April 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    You can get canned cherry tomatoes in all the supermarkets in the UK, which is great. They’re definitely my favorites for sauces.

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