This year's crop of tomatoes are now ripe for the picking. By the pound, basket or bushel this is the best time of year to enjoy the unparalleled taste of vine ripened tomatoes. Our work is done for the year and once again the shelves in the cool cellar are filled with the fruit of our labour.
Tomato sauce making day brings back bushels of unforgettable memories made throughout my childhood years and later with my own children. I see it as a celebration of combined family effort, from the first tomato that is washed to the lid that goes onto the last jar that enters the water bath. It's hard to explain but there's a certain bond that occurs with those filled jars that goes far beyond the sauce inside. Each jar holds memories of a day spent together, another year of upholding tradition and family around the table for Sunday dinner.
Each year I look forward to preserving this delicious fruit that will be enjoyed long after the tomato fields are covered with snow. While making our sauce this year a comment was made on how our new home has officially become Italian by the traditional making of tomato sauce. It’s feeling more and more like home as we continue to carry on the traditions we've practiced since I can remember in every house we have lived in.
Besides preserving tomatoes we take advantage of the summer crop by preparing them in different ways that can only be truly enjoyed while in season.
My husband prepares the garden in late Spring and places the carefully chosen plants into the ground anticipating the first fresh tomato salad. A handful of sweet basil leaves and a hot pepper from the garden along with a generous splash of good olive oil dresses up the already delicious vine ripened tomatoes. There are times when all he wants for dinner on a warm summer evening is a fresh tomato salad and a large loaf of crusty bread of course.
On the other hand as much as I enjoy a good tomato salad, I patiently wait for enough very ripe tomatoes to make this Salsa Cruda or No Cook Tomato Sauce. I don’t remember where I got this recipe from, I didn’t even write it down most likely because the ingredients are too simple and delicious to forget.
This year I have already made it several times since the yield from our twelve tomato plants has greatly surpassed any other year in number and quality.
When this dish is on the dinner menu, early on in the day the ripe, chopped tomatoes are introduced to the garlic, olive oil and basil then a little salt and pepper is added to help the ingredients get to know each other a little better.
By the time dinner time rolls around they have become the best of friends and are ready to meet the linguine.
Linguine with Salsa Cruda
2 lb. ripe tomatoes (about 3 large or 4 medium), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
2 medium cloves garlic finely minced or put through a garlic press
salt and pepper to tastep
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
450 grams Linguine or favourite pasta
- Combine all of the ingredients in a glass bowl and cover.
- Allow to rest at least a few hours to allow the flavours to marry.
- Cook Linguine or favourite pasta al dente, drain well
- Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and serve immediately.
- Serves 4 to 6
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- For best results use very ripe flavourful tomatoes (in season tomatoes work best.)
- Make sure to mix the ingredients earlier on in the day to allow the flavours to mellow but do not refrigerate.
- I have tried adding olives to the mix but rather enjoy the simple original recipe, it's all a matter of taste.
Bounty by the bunch ... a good year for tomatoes.