Rosa’s Musings: The Last Of The Summer Days Have Arrived, Indulge In Tomatoes while You Still Can
by Rosa Mayland
Spontaneous Cuisine: Raw Tomato Sauce
I don’t know if you have the same uncomfortable feeling as I, but I have the impression this year is flying by, and that we are more than ever racing against time, without being able to get a grip on the present moment or connect with the now. It is insane and quite confusing…
As incredible and shocking as it might seem, September has already arrived and so has autumn (and by the way, just in case you have already got the creeps, we are dangerously approaching Christmas – only 3 1/2 months to go before the ludicrous craze!). Even if you try “lying” to yourself, you cannot do anything other than confirm that the hot season is over and the slow decline of nature is taking its toll. As sad as it might sound, we have no other choice than to bid goodbye to the joys of summer and to the delightful sensation of lightness as well as worry-free days, it is a harbinger for the cold, dark, gloomy days that gently weasel their way into our lives. All those changes are real, visible and can be perceived very clearly.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
- Excerpt taken from John Keats’ poem“To Autumn”
Bright sunny days gradually gurn in to days filled with weaker light as the days shorten and faint orange hues are starting to spread like wildfire, yet the light is crispier and clearer than it was a few weeks ago. Although it can still be warm and the temperatures are enjoyably balmy from sunrise to sunset, the air is nonetheless fresher during the night and in the early morning hours.
The leaves on the trees are slowly turning, beginning to look a bit burnt and are losing their green pigmentation. Some of them have even scattered across the carpeted grass and are gracing the sides of the roads. Birds are quite silent lately, but one can already hear the mean yammering of magpies and crows in the distance. The mist gently licking the mountainsides and making them look eerily beautiful. The air has that familiar and distinctive clean, soily and firepit smell. Market stalls are being refurbished with wild mushrooms, pumpkins, sweetcorn, beetroots, grapes, figs, pears and apples.
Despite the fact that all of this is highly exciting, a part of me is sad at the idea of being forced to mourn the summertime as well as the enthusiasm, outdoor fun, relaxed holiday atmosphere, convivial apéros on the balcony and laidback as well as colorful cooking that are indissociable from this gleeful period of the year. In order to make it last a little longer, I try to prepare dishes which remind me of the bliss of the past months and give me the impression that the brighter part of the year is not on a downward spiral, and that we are not being sucked in to the winter blackhole at a terrifying pace.
So, as I am not exactly ready to leap into fall’s precipice and get embraced by the reassuring warmth of its arms, I decided to bring a bit of August sunshine to the plate by cooking an Italian-inspired “Raw Tomato Sauce” that is light, healthy, scrumptious and bursting with the healing powers and solar energy of our dearly beloved incandescent star. A pure concentrate of life.
The secret to this sauce’s deliciousness is without a doubt its deceptive simplicity and incomparable freshness. And the best part is that it takes only a few basic ingredients and minutes of preparation to get to such a fabulous result. Nothing very complicated to put together, but boy oh boy, the complex, ambrosial and refined flavors that arise from that heavenly concoction are just amazing!
RecipeRaw Tomato Sauce
For 4 servings
Ingredients For The “Raw Tomato Sauce”:2 large beefsteak tomatoes, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs malt vinegar
1 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp fish sauce
Red Tabasco, to taste
3 Tbs virgin olive (+ extra to drizzle over the dish)
3-4 Tbs fresh basil, finely chopped
1 Tsp dried marjoram
1 Tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fine sea salt, to taste
Directions For The “Raw Tomato Sauce”:
- Combine all the ingredients together and mix thoroughly.
Let stand in order to allow the tomatoes to release their juices, about 20 minutes.
The use of garlic in this dish is quite optional and you may leave it out if you are concerned about the freshness of your breath. Nonetheless, it does add a bit more oomph to the sauce.
Serve over hot spaghetti or the pasta of your choice and sprinkle with shaved hard cheese such as Pecorino, Parmesan, Grana Padano or Sbrinz.
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Click here for more pictures and the French version of this recipe.