And here’s part 2 (of 3) of the summer tomato mini-series, called “REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD” (but does that refer to picnic food and cold starters too ?!) . . . One of my dearest, darling, overseas cousins that I spoke to last night had mentioned over the phone that the no-cook & hand-crushed heirloom tomato sauce and/or spread recipe that I posted last week (see recipe here) had too many steps even for her. And all that even though it didn’t require any cooking and of course, I claimed that it was easy. She’s a busy doctor-lady with a great family that doesn’t have too much free time on her quite full hands (or so she thinks so) and very funny and giggly. She likes to tease me all the time ! But because I’m such a “good guy”, I made some modifications to last week’s post to help clear things up.
But because I’m not always such a “good guy”, my “SWEET and/or COLD REVENGE” will be to force you (yes you, my dearest darling cousin) to make this recipe as I watch and to make you admit the error of your ways ! I’m just joking and being dramatic. You think I have time to test recipes, write recipes, photograph recipes and hold your hand while you cook ?! Of course not, but I’ll do it gladly for that cup of coffee and a slice of that cake you’ll be baking at the same time because much of what I publish is not active-time doing stuff but rather passive-time waiting around stuff, so you could do other things with that free time instead, like writing me a letter or singing me a song or baking me a cake, as the wonders of the infusing, marinating and overall developing of flavors work their magic and improve over time !
You may have read last week’s recipe on how to make “the freshest hand-crushed & no-cook heirloom tomato sauce and/or spread”. For me, it seems easy but, MEA-CULPA, it does require separating and straining/filtering the different elements, known as the solids and liquids with a 1st and a 2nd phase. So what if I’m crazy and delusional ? I made some modifications to last week’s post for the sake of clarity (or almost I hope).
TO RESUME : you initially start off with 1 kg of ultra-ripe hand-crushed tomatoes and at first you end up with half liquids and half solids or to be more exact, with the 1stplainer tomato water weighing 500 ml and the 1st plainer tomato solids weighing 500 grams. Then you go further to modify, accentuate and let infuse the flavors of the 1st tomato solids by combining them with the other more complex flavoring ingredients and letting them infuse until the 500 grams become a very light sauce for warm pasta. If you go further and partly strain the mixture again to become 350 grams of solids (70% of the initial mixture of 500 grams) and 150 ml liquids (30% of the initial 500 grams) you’ll have a slightly thicker sauce and a flavorful 2nd tomato water. You can continue straining/filtering it all the way down to 250 grams of sauce and 250 ml of liquids (around 50% each of the initial 500 grams) for a heavier sauce to use for cold pasta salads, meats & fish. Or if you strain it even further for a denser & thicker result, you will eventually end up with 175 grams of spread (35% of the initial 500 grams) and around 325 ml (65% of the initial 500 grams) of the 2nd flavorful tomato water ...
This variable and modifiable straining process, when separating the liquids from the solids a 2nd time will determine whether you end up with a lighter, thinner sauce, a thicker sauce or a much denser and intense spread.
The whole idea is to create 3 things that can be used without totally discarding nor wasting the by-products. The 1st plainer tomato water can be used to replace plain water in other preparations and the 1st tomato solids (yet to become a sauce and/or spread) will become, after infusing and partly straining, the thinner sauce or after almost completely straining, the thicker spread and you’ll obviously end up with the 2nd flavorful tomato water too after all that straining, that can be used to flavor other dishes as well.
I hope it’s clearer now and anyways I have another recipe coming in the next week or earlier I hope, so we’ll see how all of that ends up !
So for now, here’s a seemingly easy cold pasta salad starter that attempts to use almost everything whether solid or liquid and to be prepared for your weekend picnics or your warmer summer daily & nightly meals at home. I don’t think I would have thought of this nor even attempted it if we weren’t have heat waves recipe so this recipe is quite appropriate in 30°C to 35°C weather.
I’ve used spaghetti here which is unusual for pasta salads that are usually composed of tube or shell-shaped pasta, but I liked the idea of more compact twirled pasta nests, that I’m still not very good at shaping but they say that practice makes perfect.
I use both tomato waters, because I waste nothing. The 1st plainer tomato water (from the first crushed tomatoes) to cook the pasta in and the 2nd more flavorful tomato water (from the infused tomato sauce after straining) as well, to quickly cool down the cooked pasta and halt the cooking. This way, you have subtle accentuated tomato flavors infused and absorbed by the pasta even before you add the sauce and garnishes. Then in comes the sauce, you mix most of it all up, reserving some of the ingredients as garnish, twirl into pasta nests, garnish and serve.
And remember : “REVENGE CAN BE SWEET”, if it’s a slice of cake, baked as a peace offering, but could also become “A DISH BEST SERVED COLD”, just like this cold pasta starter . . . :)