Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomato Salad 1

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!

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. This event was originally created by Kalyn and it is now in the care of Haalo. This week it's being hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Anh :)

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”.


Anh said...

The only tomatoes salad I eat is this very type. Otherwise I will just roast them in the oven. Fabulous salad my friend!

Divina Pe, RHN said...

I agree.

Midge said...

I agree with you: sometimes the simplest approach to food is the best one - especially if it involves ripe tomatoes!

One of my favorite salads involves a beautifully ripe beefsteak tomato lightly drizzled with a bit of warm bacon fat and sprinkled with bacon bits. Aah, sheer pleasure... :)

Cecilia said...

We also like our tomatoes on the side! And I also do the variations you've suggested! ... Another one that I also like, and which we had for dinner tonight, is tomatoes, onions and cilantro. And of course, with the best olive oil available and crushed sea salt ... Saw your photo in Marketman's blog. So pretty and cute with those watermelons! :D

Ana said...

One of my favorite salads! Last time I had this was with olive oil from a family friend's very own olive trees in Spain. Heaven on earth.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! I also love tomato salads! I just ate one a few minutes ago...



Dhanggit said...

tomatoes on salad is always the best!

Ling said...

No weird at all! I don't put tomatoes in my green salads either - it just doesn't work for me! Give me a bowl of craggily cut ripe plum toms with a little slivered onion or crushed garlic, salted, peppered and anointed with a little balsamic and olive oil, and I'm a happy bunny. And of course I'll want some good crusty bread along with it!

Junglefrog said...

I love tomatoes. Either in a green salad or on it's own. Now that I think about it, I do usually make a separate tomato salad but I've also on occassion put them into a green salad (usually when I have too many tomatoes to finish on it's own.. lol)
You tomato salad is really the best kind. I love to do it with various sizes and shapes of tomato too.

jacqui | happyjackeats said...

yum! love simple salads. tomato + salt is all i need!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anh! Thanks! I love this way of having tomatoes...so perfect :)

Hi Divine! Glad to hear we have this tomato salad in common :)

Hi Midge! You bet! Bacon and tomato...oooh, I can so get into that :)

Hi Cecilia! Thank you...I’m blushing! :) I love the tomatoes with cilantro too...herbs will be part of this series (part 3) so stay tuned! :)

Hi Ana! That sounds divine!

Hi Rosa! I imagine it was delicious :)

Hi Dhanggit! Love tomato salads...but I prefer them in a salad of their own (no greens) :)

Hi Ling! MMM...sounds good! That is actually coming next :)

Hi Junglefrog! I like using different sizes too...and different colors! I like a bit of green tomato in my tomato salad sometimes :)

Hi Jacqui! You said it...it’s really the best :) Tomato and salt are perfect together!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ah yes once again we find few ingredients of very simple things come together and are so much more than the separate parts. ... so true ... too easy to even warrant the writing down of a recipe...but too good not to.
Love this.

veron said...

Joey, I do not like tomatoes on my salad either. I pick them off if they appear on my plate. Hubby thinks I'm weird. But I love them cut up as a side dish specially with grilled fare and rice.

Banquet Manager said...

You don't like tomatoes in salads reminds me that I won't eat mushrooms but love them in the sauce over beef. Funny...
So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager

Christina said...

This looks lovely Joey. Mouthwatering!

Tomatoes do wilt the lettuce with their juice if you don't eat the salad is eaten right away.

I get around that using whole cherry or grape tomatoes in a salad. Those are bite size and hold in their liquid.

Congrats on the Rogue feature, btw.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Tanna! True yes? :) Good to go back to the simple stuff sometimes :)

Hi Veron! Love to have them that way to...my next salad will be something similar :)

Hi Banquet Manager! Haha...I on the other hand will have mushrooms any which way! I love them!

Hi Christina! Thanks! :) Good idea to use the grape/cherry tomatoes whole in salads!

Kalyn said...

Just a perfect way to eat tomatoes. This year I'm loving Green Zebra tomatoes. If you ever come across them, give them a try!

Nez said...

tomaotes! yumyum... wondering... vegetable or fruit.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kalyn! Green Zebra tomatoes? They sound awesome! I hope I see some of those one day!

Nez! I've always thought they were a fruit... :)

Ash said...

I completely agree with you!

ps. I used 3 cups of sugar instead of 4 for the Blondies recipe. (I'm sure that could still probably be reduced)


betty q. said...

Sun-kissed tomatoes...thickly sliced, then basil mayonnaise or pesto mayonnaise in a sandwich...have to have serviettes while eating it for it can be messy. PLAIN BUT GOOOOOOD!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ash! Thanks for the response on the sugar for the blondie recipe...looking forward to trying it out one of these day :)

Hi Betty Q! That sounds divine! Thanks for the tip!

iska said...

I understand why you wouldn't want tomatoes in your salads. But I don't mind whole cherry tomatoes with the greens :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Iska! That sounds fine too :) No leaking :)

nayna said...

it makes perfect sense to me too! i don't like how the make my salads soggy. and I only put them in my sandwich right before eating (I pack a small knife with my sandwich tomato).
Good job on the t.v. spot <3 congratulations!!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nayna! I do the same thing with sandwiches too – putting it on only right before eating! Thanks for the congratulations :)

SteamyKitchen said...

Ok, I get it...so if I ever make dinner for you we'll have tomato salad, not tomatoes IN salad!

Bellini Valli said...

This salad is simple and allows the tomato to be the star.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jaden! Haha! If you make me dinner (I’ll be such a happy camper!) you can make anything you want...I’m sure it will be wonderful!

Hi Bellini Valli! Yup...that’s the idea :)