I have this funny thing about tomatoes and salads. I love tomatoes and tomato salads, but I don’t like tomatoes in salads. Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense to me. I find that tomatoes leave my salad greens a soggy mess. Perhaps I’ve been a victim of one too many soggy restaurant salads, or maybe I just take after my mother who is the consummate “on the side orderer”***, but in our home tomatoes are served separate (I’ll usually make one tomato salad and one green salad…which C will eventually mix together on his plate).
Good tomatoes are fantastic on their own anyway, and it is one of my great pleasures to enjoy them this way (and if they are not so brilliant? slow-roast them and watch them transform!). It starts with buying the best tomatoes you can – cheery organic ones, big buxom hydroponics, interesting varieties and colors…let your tastebuds be your guide. Then bring them home and place them in a pretty dish in a cool place (you can even use this as a centrepiece of sorts and not have to buy pricey flowers). Do not place them in the refrigerator! This will destroy their texture and flavour.
In celebration of the tomato and my funny habits towards them, I am sharing my three favourite tomato salads (along with variations and such) over the course of three posts…a tomato series 🙂 I must warn you…they are extremely simple! No elaborate techniques here…
This first salad is the simplest and also the one I have been enjoying the longest. Taught to me by a cousin from Spain, it is too easy to even warrant the writing down of a recipe…but too good not to.
Tomato Salad 1
- A very good tomato
- The best extra virgin olive oil you have
- The best finishing salt you have (I like the flaky kind so there is more of a salty crunch)
– Slice the tomato into medium slices (you can go thinner but I like a meaty bite for this salad). Spread on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt – be generous, the salt makes the tomatoes shine.
– Serves 1.
Because this salad is so simple it is essential to use the best ingredients you have or are available to you. The combination of the tomatoes’ flavour and natural sweetness, with the fruity olive oil, punctuated by the salty crunch is really nothing short of magic. There is no fancy cooking or flavourings to hide less than stellar ingredients. Times are tough though so don’t go breaking the bank to get the most expensive olive oil or salt you can find! Work with the best you have or can afford – that is what I do and the gourmet cops haven’t come knocking yet 🙂
– Add some basil and fresh mozzarella and you have an Italian Caprese salad!
– You can also add an acid, like balsamic or red wine vinegar if you prefer. For this salad I like it just the way it is 🙂
– Experiment with different tomatoes, oils, and salts (try smoked salt!).
– Add procuitto and omit the salt.
Stay tuned for my next two tomato salads!
To those of you who watched my little tv interview on Studio 23 on Sunday: Thank you! I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you didn’t count my “ums”! I’m not the most tv-savvy person…I’m usually behind a laptop and not in front of a camera 😉 To those of you who have asked about a video: I’ll see if I can get one! 🙂 To those who have asked if the Rogue magazine write-up will be available online, I will keep you posted on that too (it should be online once their September issue is on the stands)!
***People who order their dishes with every speck of sauce/dressing/garnish/whatnot “on the side”.