Winter Tomatos. Every chef dreads them, particularly our family chef. I laughed so hard the first time my sister referred to those hard, pale in color, tomatoes shipped in from god knows where, available all year round as “winter tomatoes.” She is right though, they are gross. As we begin to phase out of “Winter Tomato” season, you might start to notice an occasional good tomato day in the produce isle, and when I see good tomatoes I think, Tomato Salad. This is a staple in our house. The recipe was inspired by a similar version made at our local country club, my first job.
Most people think that would be a terrible first job, waiting tables at a country club; however, it became my home away from home. I loved that place, the clientele, the tournaments, camping out all day on a major wedding event, all of it. Perhaps that job is the reason I became a party-planning addict.
The manager was wild and had a system for everything, I loved every second working for her and the two ladies who had been cooking for the kitchen for years. Maybe most of my sentiments are simply because it was my first job, first real pay check. Regardless of what inspired the love for events and cooking and planning, I can only believe the country club must have played a significant part in influencing my future.
Lets return to this incredibly simple, naturally gluten free, tomato salad. I love this recipe and have been making it for years. My husband and I have lucked into two good batches of tomatoes so far this season and one terribly winter batch.
To begin this recipe, you will want your tomato of preference, I always use Roma tomatoes, but have switched it up to fresh garden tomatoes, vine tomatoes, etc. Because I am typically making this recipe in bulk to feed a crowd, I have modified the portions to make a simple side dish option for a week night dinner.
Start off your chopping therapy (I seriously love the prep before jumping in to a recipe) with about 6-8 Roma tomatoes and half of a sweet onion. Begin slicing into thin tomato wedges along with thin slices of the onion.
After all of your lovely slicing and dicing is complete, and the stress of the day has melted away, you will need approximately 4 large basil leaves. To chop up the basil, twist the leaves tightly, and begin to slowly dice the basil finely. (Thank you Giada, for all of your cooking wisdom while I was in college!)
Toss all of your items in a large bowl ready to dress.
And then once you have annoyingly realized that the bowl is too small, switch to a larger one that you can actually stir your ingredients in.
There we go. Next, add in 1/2 cup olive oil. I prefer extra light olive oil, but feel free to use whatever flavor you prefer. Add in a splash of apple cider vinegar (1 teaspoon, I never measure the liquids, but forced myself to, so I could actually give a fairly accurate guide.)
Salt to suit your tastebuds. I am fairly generous with the salt when making this salad. We aren’t shy when it comes to salting our food in this house. Stir until well combined
Toss your concoction into a pretty little bowl and wow all of your friends with this beautiful, and incredibly simple, salad. We love to eat this with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. They pair up so well together.
After this past holiday weekend I’m more than ready for summer foods, and I can’t think of a better way to kick start the summer festivities than with a generous portion of this tomato basil salad.
Fresh Tomato Basil Salad
A simple and fresh summer inspired recipe that will please any crowd
- 6-8 Roma Tomatoes
- 1/2 of a medium Sweet Onions
- 4 large basil leaves
- 1/2 cup Extra Light Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges, Chop the onions into 1/4 inch width slices.
- Twist the basil leaves and chop finely. Add into the tomatoes and onion.
- Add in the olive oil and cider vinegar. Toss to coat.
- Salt to taste. Let sit for at least a half hour before serving.