My Summer of Sauce

In Season,Ingredient
July 6, 2012

When Editor Jill Melton finds herself knee-deep in fresh tomatoes from her daughter's produce stand, she does what any self-respecting foodie would...make sauce...and soup...and salsa...

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Due to my daughter's employment at a local produce stand this summer,  baskets of super-ripe, second-hand tomatoes (covered by a kitchen towel to keep the fruit flies at bay) are a regular in the landscape of my kitchen. But unlike apples, oranges or pears, that lay patiently waiting to be eaten or cooked in a pie, these super soft juicy tomatoes  are impatient and restless, itchy to plunge into a saucepan of sauteed onions for a fresh sauce, or  a blender with cucumber for a cooling gazpacho. No, there isn’t another day for these juicy red orbs.

So I’ve coined this my “summer of sauce,” which has been perpetually simmering on the back of the stove. I’m sure there are better or more elaborate recipes for sauce, but I can’t find one that suits me better. I don’t use tomato paste or any thickener here, so this is a fresh chunky sauce with bits of colorful tomatoes about. I crush the tomatoes with my hands, to capture all the juice. The other ingredients are simple, basil from my garden, an onion, a red bell pepper for sweetness, and a splash of vinegar, salt and sugar and some raw garlic to punch it up. It’s a multi-purpose sauce–that with a dose of heavy cream and fresh basil morphs into creamy tomato basil soup or with chunks of fresh mozzarella and croutons, a gazpacho. Our jars of sauce wait patiently in the freezer all winter. Enjoy.

—Jill Melton, Relish Editor

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Simple Tomato Sauce

This easy-to-make tomato sauce is very multipurpose and can be used as a sauce on pastas or easily transformed into tomato basil soup or gazpacho.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Creamy Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

You can use any kind of tomatoes in this soup, but the low-acid orange ones are perfect.

Gazpacho with Fresh Mozzarella and Garlic Croutons

This "summer in a bowl" is a great way to make use of fresh tomatoes in a different and simple way.

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Cheese and Zucchini Stuffed Manicotti

This summer pasta dish stars an easy, homemade tomato sauce, fresh zucchini squash and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

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