Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
I like the kind in the white can (forgetting the name), but I know people who actually swear by Muir Glen over San Marzano.
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I really like Pomi tomatoes in the boxes. They taste so fresh, as if they have not been cooked much. I'm not sure if they're San Marzano, but I use them whenever San Marzano are called for in recipes or I otherwise need tomatoes. I always keep on hand both the diced and the "strained", which is a smooth, pure tomato sauce. ;o)
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
http://food52.com/hotline... has a discussion of Muir Glen v. San Marzano.
The San Marzano brand (like this http://www.plummarket.com...) are my favorite - specially for homemade tomato sauce
Recipe writers love to specify the San Marzano tomato. Perhaps they have a deal with the importers of pricey Italian tomatoes. Or more likely it just is a phrase, like the elusive "Bliss potato," that just gets passed around. The term San Marzano refers to a seed--that is, to a variety of meaty plum tomato, not a brand. In truth, there are many varieties of good meaty plum tomatoes, some hybrids and some not, all of which taste the same when cooked. What matters is the quality of the canned tomatoes, not the "San Marzano" designation. In my pantry are home-canned jars of "Opalka" plum tomatoes; they look like a San Marzano and they taste like one and they happen to grow well in this climate. Hunts packs a good tomato, as does Muir Glen. Why spend the extra money on imported tomatoes just because someone sticks "San Marzano" in an ingredient list?
When I am looking for a real San Marzano tomato, I look for tomates with the San Marzano Tomato Consortium seal, which looks like this: http://m2.paperblog.com... I often use the 400gr can of Danicoop San Marzano tomatoes from Agro Nocerino-Sarnese (pic of can attached here). I love the taste/texture of these and they are the best I have tried for pizza. The thing about San Marzano Tomatoes is that by Italian and EU law, a tomato cannot be a San Marzano tomato unless it is from the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese area in Italy, among other required characteristics.
the real san marzano tomatoes
Look at the "real" variety of paste tomatoes in just one seed catalog (Fedco): Mr. Fumo, Heinz 2653, Grandma Mary's, Bellstar, Opalka, Vilms, Orange Banana, Cassady's Folly, Amish Paste, Hog Heart, Blue Beech, San Diego. The catalog header that introduces these varieties says of the San Marzano: "... [it] appears to be the Sugar & Gold of the paste set, its formidable reputation not backed by our taste tests." As with Sugar & Gold corn, the San Marzano tomato appears to be a name used to command a higher price. And as with bicolor corn (lots of cultivars), there are any number of tasty paste tomatoes that one might find in a can of just plain old good quality tomatoes. Pay for the name if you like.
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