Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Sea Salt
Ripe tomatoes are the quintessential taste of summer. At their best they need little more than 2 things to dress them: salt and fine olive oil. Consequently, ripe tomatoes are one of the best ways to showcase a fine salt. The tart, sweet, and umami flavors of tomatoes are brightened by high-quality salt. We wanted to see if we could transfer this application to a summer pasta dish, hearty enough to be a meal in itself, but without losing the flavor or freshness of the tomatoes. We started with the essentials: Tomatoes and salt. We used hot house tomatoes, but any tomatoes plum or larger work. Avoid cherry tomatoes or smaller; the flavorful gel in the tomatoes is essential for the sauce and the small tomatoes do not have enough of it. Next the salt: We used 2 kinds in this recipe. First we sprinkled the cut tomatoes with Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt. The red clay's bitter and earthy notes are something special on raw tomatoes. We finished the dish with Black Lava Hawaiian Coarse because of its big, crunchy grain and its visual appeal. To round out the flavors and textures of the dish and offset the tart of the tomatoes, we added a generous amount of chopped herbs. We used tarragon, parsley, and mint because of their cooling flavors but you could reasonably substitute many other green or oily herbs. Garlic was a go-to for brightness. For a little protein we added Feta, and for crunch and texture we added toasted sunflower kernels. These last two can be considered optional but we really enjoyed them. For the pasta, we used farfalle but a tubular pasta would work just as well at carrying the chunky sauce. Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs (Serves 4)
- 1 pound short dry pasta
- 1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes (three large) cores removed and rough cut into ½ inch pieces and lightly.
- 1-2 medium garlic cloves: minced (a garlic press works just as well)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (see above)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
- 1/3 cup feta cheese (optional)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds roasted or toasted (optional)
- Chosen finishing salts