Crushing on Crudo

Lately I've been inundated with garden-picked grape tomatoes – and I'm not complaining! Kept in a big ceramic bowl on the kitchen counter (tomatoes lose flavor and take on a mealy texture in the refrigerator), they're always within reach for easy snacking and salad-topping. With the dog days of summer in full swing, cold dishes become a dinner default. The oven enjoys a summer vacation, too! But all these tomatoes, not to mention locally-grown garlic, had me craving one thing: sauce. So what's a girl to do when a saucy mood strikes and it's too hot to stand over the stove? Enter crudo. Salsa crudo.

This no-cook sauce takes minutes to prepare. The trick is to let the tomato mixture marinate for a full two hours to soak up all the garlicky goodness. I say "trick" because once you have a spoonful, it's hard to leave this sauce alone to do it's thing! Tomatoes are especially high in lycopene, a fat-soluble antioxidant. Combining tomatoes with olive oil, as in this sauce, helps aid its absorption. For an extra serving of vegetables, pair the crudo with the now-ubiquitous zoodle, or simply enjoy with regular spaghettini.

Salsa Crudo with Feta and Kalamata Olives

3 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt (recommend Kalas brand)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup (about 20) kalamata olives, halved
20 fresh basil leaves, whole

Combine tomatoes, olive oil, and salt in glass or ceramic bowl. Use Microplane or garlic press to add garlic cloves to mixture. Stir or mix with with hands to combine. Set aside loosely covered with dish towel at room temperature for up to two hours.
Prepare pasta. Toss with tomato mixture, feta, and olives. Add basil leaves just before serving.