Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tastes Like Sunshine

I came late to a love affair with basil. Mr. Chatterpie and I went to Italy about 5 years ago and I experienced several food revelations. Fresh basil was one. Good olive oil was another. And arugula, or spicy lettuce as I dubbed it. Fennel too.

Basil smells and tastes like sunshine and summer to me. When we returned from Italy I sought out basil and Italian parsley and found them mostly at the Italian specialty stores and the fancy supermarket. Happily, all the local grocery stores now carry them and these two herbs combined with good olive oil and garlic will rescue winter grape tomatoes and resurrect them into this prosaically titled gem adapted from Mary Ellen Esposito in Ciao Italia Pronto.

Lots of basil from the Kingsland Farmer's Market


Uncooked Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use Costco's Toscano)
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 large basil leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Diamond Crystal Kosher)
freshly ground pepper to taste
a dash of sugar if your winter tomatoes are lackluster
4 plum tomatoes or 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

Pour olive oil into a bowl, add garlic. Mince together the basil and parsley, add to bowl. 

Dice tomatoes, or halve the grape/cherry tomatoes. Add to bowl of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar if desired. Let stand for an hour or so if possible to let the flavours develop.
Serve with crusty bread as a bruschetta topping or on pasta as a sauce. Also good in a sandwich.


If you have more winter tomatoes in need of rescuing, over at Clover Lane you will find one of the easiest appies ever: Feta Dip.  Ridiculously easy. If you can operate a knife, you will succeed with this recipe. I buy the cubes of feta and they work well in this recipe. Serve with rice crackers instead of a baguette if you want this dish to be gluten free.


 

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