I've said it before and I'll say it again: heirloom tomatoes, the darlings of hipster urban pioneers, are overrated. Sure, you can't help but be charmed by their mottled green-red skin, muscular build, and retro pedigree. But heirlooms are all style and no substance. Or flavor. Case in point: I was hoping to use my CSA share heirloom tomatoes in a cucumber-tomato salad at F-stop's 4th of July dinner last night....
But one taste, and we resorted to plan B, some tasty organic grape tomatoes that he fortunately happened to have on hand.
|Last night's Plan B Cucumber-Tomato Salad. The understudy grape tomatoes had to full in for the diva heirlooms, which were too anemic to perform.|
Dinner crisis averted. But that still left me with two ginormous heirloom tomatoes to use up. Since I need extra carbs for my long run tomorrow [Your body uses much more glycogen in this blazing heat and humidity], I decided to whip up a quick salsa fresca – a quick, light tomato sauce for pasta made from fresh tomatoes. If you want exact proportions, the original recipe appears in my first cookbook but it's so easy that I'm just posting a photo recipe here.
Whereas "gravy" or traditional marinara sauce is thick, this pasta sauce is lighter, perfect for summer. I used 3 very large tomatoes. The long simmer seemed to sweeten them. These directions make enough sauce for 2 large servings of pasta, but it's easily doubled or tripled. Buon appetito!
Salsa Fresca Photo Tutorial
Garlic cloves, minced, to taste [I used 5; I love garlic]
About 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and 3-4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. You can also add any compatible fresh or dried herb you like [eg, basil, oregano, thyme]
A handful of toasted pine nuts: an optional-but-delicious topping
|When you get started the sauce will be quite watery...|
- Heat the oil over medium in a sauce pan. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes. Add onion and cook until soft.
- Add tomatoes, and dried herbs if using [add fresh herbs about 5 minutes before serving] and turn up heat. The mixture will be quite watery.
- Lower heat to medium and cook for about an hour, uncovered, or until no longer watery and reduced by about 1/3. Toss with your favorite pasta [al dente, please], topped with nutritional yeast and perhaps some toasted pine nuts or almonds.
|Sauce, after simmering for an hour: the tomatoes sweeten and cook down|
|Heirloom tomato makes good.|