Tomato paste is a handy ingredient, considering the way it packs concentrated tomato flavor in a little spoonful. The downside to tomato paste is the waste that often accompanies it–you buy a small can, use a couple of tablespoons at most, and then leave it in the fridge until it turns black and you have to throw it out. (Sure, you can freeze spoonfuls for later).
Fortunately, that problem ended for me many years ago when I discovered Amore’s Italian Tomato Paste in a tube. It’s a quality product, and it keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge because the tube limits oxygen exposure to what’s left.
Recently the company sent samples of some of their other products, all pastes in a tube: pesto, Italian herb, garlic, sundried tomato, black olive, and anchovy. I’d seen these in the store, but had always been a little wary of them. After all, tomato paste is meant to be a concentrated shelf-stable product, but pesto? Garlic paste? How fresh could they possibly taste?
I squirted a little of each type onto a plate and tried a dab of each. They were all very salty, and not surprisingly, the pesto and Italian herb pastes didn’t taste very good. There’s a reason why fresh herbs are worth the effort. The olive, garlic, anchovy, and sundried pastes were all decent, though.
I won’t be giving up the whole forms of these ingredients, but in a pinch, I can see using these pastes in small amounts in a salad dressing or compound butter.
What do you think? Do any of you use pastes? Do you like them, and if so, how do you use them?