Easy Summer Tomato Salad
This easy salad uses luscious tomatoes in season. Mix ripe tomatoes with a basic vinaigrette, red onion, basil, and mint. That should be on repeat all summer.
Making a great dish is easy with good ingredients. A tablespoon of whipped cream and foraged blackberries makes a wonderful treat. Or that a lemon squeeze makes fresh fish gleam. tomato salad. Start with luscious, ripe tomatoes in peak summer, add a simple vinaigrette and a few herbs, and you’ve got a dish you’ll likely repeat until the last tomato is gone.
First, pick good tomatoes for this salad. How do you know yours is good? Tips for finding great produce:
Find locally farmed tomatoes. Farmers’ markets, farm stands, specialized markets, and private gardens are excellent. I’ve bought delicious tomatoes from Costco, Trader Joe’s, and my local store.
Heirlooms are juicy and flavorful. Rainbow plates are beautiful. I prefer Early Girl and Sungold cherry tomatoes (which are pretty to scatter over the sliced tomatoes).
Buy firm but not hard tomatoes. Pressing down with your thumb should yield.
The fruit should be substantial for its size and smell fragrant and earthy near the stem.
Avoid tomatoes with blemishes, black stains, or deep cracks.
At home, keep tomatoes stem-side down at room temperature out of direct sunshine until ripe.
When ripe, store in the fridge. Slice into a dud and it’s over. Roast subpar tomatoes for pasta sauces or sandwiches instead of salads.
In this recipe, the vinaigrette macerates the red onion to soften it and dresses the salad.
The two-to-one oil-to-vinegar ratio makes it more acidic than my usual salad dressing. The acidity complements tomatoes and fresh herbs. Dijon mustard and honey give the dressing substance to coat tomatoes.
Tomato Salad Changes
This salad is delicious on its own, but it may also be customized. Enjoy and customize it. Starting points:
Place fresh mozzarella, half bocconcini, or burrata slices between tomato slices. Instead, sprinkle feta.
To make a panzanella, add toasted baguette chunks to the salad and soak up the dressing.
Layer tomatoes with 1/2-inch slices of juicy peaches or nectarines.
Add heated corn kernels from two cobs to the salad. Add salt and olive oil.
Crisp two pieces of pancetta or bacon and scatter over the salad.
Use leftover tomatoes the next day on your favorite sandwich.
To make this a meal, add protein such split hard-boiled eggs, tinned sardines, or oil-packed tuna.
Combine tomatoes with cucumbers or watermelon slices. Add additional salt and vinegar to the dressing.
Slice a ripe avocado, squeeze half a lemon and a few pinches of salt over it, and place among the tomatoes.
Serving Fresh Tomato Salad
With a crusty baguette and two pieces of cheese, this salad makes a light summer meal. It goes well with any summer meal or barbecue recipe.
Easy Summer Tomato Salad
10 minutes 4 servings
2-tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon
1/4-cup extra-virgin olive oil
Thinly slice 1/4 medium red onion.
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, any kind.
Black pepper, to taste.
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade
Whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl until honey dissolves. Blend olive oil.
Macerate red onions:
Tuck sliced onions into the vinaigrette. When making the salad, let macerate.
Remove the tomato stem and base. Slice tomatoes 1/2-inch-thick. Half cherry tomatoes.
Salt both sides of the tomatoes on a big or medium dish. Sprinkle fresh black pepper.
Onions and dressing on salad. Nestle the tomatoes in the dressing and spread the onions equally with your hands. Sprinkle basil and mint. Taste and adjust salt/pepper as needed.
If covered and refrigerated, this salad is best the day it is cooked.