Monday, May 21, 2007

favorite tomato salad

My favorite salad these days consists simply of:
  • tomatoes (I get the high lycopene ones from Trader Joe's: red, juicy, ripe and sweetly delicious) cut into wedges
  • drizzle of really nice olive oil (TJ's Kalamata olive oil is a fave) to just coat the tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar also to coat
  • generous sprinkle of dried basil (fresh is better of course, but I dn't always have it on hand)
  • one clove of minced garlic
  • salt (preferably coarse or sea salt) & pepper to taste
Gently mix it all together and let sit for at least 15 minutes. The acid from the vinegar with the salt and garlic seems to coax out a little extra juice from the tomatoes. Luscious! And if you're not a huge tomato fan and can't imagine a salad of just tomatoes, drizzle a little extra oil and vinegar into the mix and gently marinate some salad greens with it (I use TJ's baby spring mix).

There was a popularity of tomato vinaigrettes (or even warmed tomato vinaigrettes) about 6 years ago. So sad to see that trend gone. This is a nice approximation of it. It also makes me think of that time I was invited to my friend Ka-ka's dad's farm one weekend in Les Landes, the southwest countryside of France. We had dinner with her family which consisted of her sister-in-law who did most of the cooking, older adored brother, dad, me and Ka-ka. I was a vegetarian at the time and dug into all the vegetable dishes and a good hunk of bread (gods, there was always a lot of bread around). I noticed that there were two salads, one of greens and another of tomatoes with some light dressing. I helped myself to both and I noticed a few eyes glanced in my direction and I thought nothing of it. They were too polite to point out my gaffe (as it were). I figured out much later that this was the post-dinner salad. Not sure if that is the official term for it, but it was the salad they ate after the main course and before the cheese plate. Who knew?

Eat this favorite tomato salad during any part of your meal. We enjoyed ours tonight with a Spanish style omelette (with baby white rose potatoes, ham and sauteed baby arugula) and brie and bread. I opened up a bottle of Prosecco to go with it even though I knew I'd be sipping alone. Just one glass, I had a date with the gym later. To think I had thought that M would pooh-pooh the meal as being a little too delicate. He cleaned his plate and pronounced it a Great meal. Clearly a man of varied and cosmopolitain tastes. Bien sur!

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