Summertime Raw Sauce for Pasta

Fettuccine with Raw Sauce (CAWCOM) (3) A delightful way to prepare pasta for a hot summer day is to toss it with a raw sauce or what the Italians call a salsa cruda.  Summers can be too hot for full-fledged piping hot food so a raw sauce can come into play.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a melange of chopped ingredients that get tossed with the pasta as soon as it is drained and that  is then warmed by the pasta before serving.

There is a wide variety of ingredients one could use and those listed in the recipe here are just one suggestion.  The best way to go about thinking about the ingredients you might want to use is considering vegetables that are at the height of their season in August–certainly tomatoes–as well as ingredients that make sense eaten raw–certainly not chicken, for example.  Also consider whether the warmth of the pasta will make the ingredient more or less palatable.  Very thinly sliced prosciutto or cooked ham would fare well.

3/4 pound fettuccine

2 very ripe large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped imported green olives

2 tablespoons capers, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

4 salted anchovy fillets, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1.Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salt abundantly then cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Drain without rinsing.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, prepare the raw sauce by mixing together the tomatoes, olives, capers, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, mint, anchovies, black pepper, and olive oil. Add the pasta to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Juicy Figs Stuffed in Tomatoes Make a Summer Appetizer

Tomato Stuffed with Fig, Prosciutto, and Mint (CAWCOM) (2)

Our figs in California are so abundant and delicious that throughout the summer we dream all ways of using them.  This particular preparation is wonderful as an appetizer to a barbeque party.  The tomatoes I call for are a cultivar called Carmelo, but you can use any tomato which, when cut in half, could be popped in your mouth.  A cherry tomato is a wee bit too small, a but a large cherry tomato might work.  In any case I’m sure you’ll see an appropriate tomato when you are shopping in your farmers market.  The whole tomato should be about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

Also important in this simple preparation are the figs and the prosciutto.  The figs should be ripe and Black Mission figs are fine to use here.  The figs should almost be bursting.  The prosciutto should be quite thin as you do not want to chew it: it should melt into your mouth with the figs.  To assure its thinness ask the deli man to show you his first slice.

Tomato Stuffed with Prosciutto, Figs, and Mint
There is no cooking in this recipe. It is a quick way of preparing an accompaniment to grilled foods, or as an appetizer. When figs are in season and you’re looking forward to barbecuing, this is an easy side dish.
Salt to taste
10 small ripe Carmelo (or similar) tomatoes, halved and hollowed out
1/4 pound prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced, each slice cut into fourths
10 fresh figs, cut in half
5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint and several whole leaves for garnish
Lightly salt the inside of each tomato. With your thumb, stuff a piece of prosciutto into the tomato half. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the ripe fig and stuff into the tomato on top of the prosciutto. Sprinkle some mint on top and serve at room temperature. Garnish the platter with whole mint leaves. Do not refrigerate if you are serving this later.
Makes 4 servings

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