‘Salsa Cruda’, in Italian cookery, is simply a term that means ‘raw sauce’. As such, in can, in theory, be composed of just about anything, but the basic version is usually a blend of chopped tomatoes in olive oil with garlic and basil. You can of course, jazz it up with whatever herbs or raw vegetables you like and, for today’s recipe, I have used several additional ingredients beyond the basic.
Mostly, a salsa cruda is used as a pasta sauce, as I have done here, but it could also be prepared as a topping for Bruschetta, a side for cold cuts or raw vegetables, or even as a ‘relish’ to use in sandwiches…
I am using one third of a cup of each of onion and yellow and green bell pepper for this salsa (you could use red peppers as well), and here you can see them already cut in small dice. The next part is optional, but I blended these with a quarter teaspoon of salt and let them macerate for about twenty minutes along with two minced cloves of garlic. This helps maintain a more uniform consistency with the other ingredients but it is, as I say, optional, and you can opt for a steeper texture gradient if you prefer.
For the complete salsa, I added one cup of chopped fresh tomato, one third of a cup of thinly sliced black olive, and a tablespoon of capers. For seasoning, I used a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and some finely chopped fresh herbs. Use whatever suits your fancy, but here I chose a bare tablespoon of chopped sage, along with half a teaspoon each of chopped thyme and rosemary. I am also using basil in this recipe, but not until later, as you will see.
Finally, I added a third of a cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil and let everything sit and marinate. You really only need to do this for about 30 to 60 minutes, or so, but you can let it go for longer. I have, in the past, allowed the flavors to blend overnight but I find that if you do this, you lose some of the brighter flavors of the fresh ingredients.
If using the salsa for pasta, drain your pasta once it is done and then quickly saute it in a pot with a little butter before adding in a small bunch of shredded fresh basil. If you are allowing your salsa to sit for no more than 30 minutes or so, you could add the basil to the mix, but if letting it marinate for longer, you may prefer to do as I have done here so as to avoid the basil turning too dark and possibly getting a little bitter.
Finally, once the pasta is sautéed, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salsa. Allow it to sit for a moment and then serve with grated cheese… That’s it!