summer tomato salad
ever since tomatoes have popped up in the markets I've been eating this easy salad practically every day. tomatoes are sweet and pretty perfect on their own but they really sing in this zippy and refreshing dish. the best part, if you only know how to cook for small armies like I do, leftovers get even better after sitting in the fridge.
this recipe would work with any tomatoes but I can't walk away from a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes. if anything can make a salad exciting it's definitely these vibrant little jewels.
they're just so gorgeous.
since this is not going to be cooked or anything it's really important to use a good quality olive oil.
yes, yes. I KNOW. I sound like Ina Garten or something. If you can't find your local 95-year-old grandfather who has been pressing olives into olive oil for generations as did his grandfathers before him, then store bought is fine.
but really. i did a little taste testing thinking "ugh what is the big deal?" and had a spoon of my cheapy olive oil and a spoon of good quality olive oil. the cheaper one was flat and tasted like nothing special but the other was bright and slightly peppery and so delicious. it makes a big difference! if you're going to splurge anywhere, go for a goooood extra virgin olive oil.
I've definitely had this salad on its own but it's perfect with any kind of protein. to make things even easier for a healthy weeknight meal, I usually go with salmon since its quick and easy. in the time it takes to cook the salmon, the tomatoes and friends have had time to mellow and meld in the dressing. chicken would also be great as would a toss of chickpeas for a meatless monday lunch/dinner/11:45pm munch (AKA you might be hungry at 3am so you should probably eat something just in case.)
feel free to sub the couscous for something else. I feel like a nutty farro would also work well at sopping up the dressing. if you want it less sweet or less acidic, just go easier on the lemon or honey. I find that my amounts are just right for my taste since there are a few different acidic liquids in the dressing but this salad is a perfect place to start if you want to experiment with more add-ins or different vinegars or herbs. be adventurous!
summer tomato salad
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup sherry wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 pound tomatoes (I used heirloom but any is fine)
1 cup cooked Israeli couscous
mixed salad greens (I like spinach and arugula)
for the dressing:
To a large bowl, add both vinegars, the sherry, honey, shallots, parsley, cilantro and lemon juice and whisk thoroughly
Let the mixture sit a few minutes as you cut the tomatoes, this will remove any sharp bite from the raw shallots
Slice the tomatoes in halves or quarters. If you're using a bigger tomato, cut into small bite sized pieces, add to the vinegar mixture, season with salt and pepper and set aside
Chop the cucumber into small bite sized pieces, set aside.
Cook the couscous as per package instructions until done, drain and toss in a little olive oil to prevent clumps and cool slightly
- tip: I squeeze a little lemon juice into the salted water and throw in a crushed garlic clove as it cooks in the pot.
Once everything is cooked, add olive oil to the tomato mixture
Gently mix, taste and adjust for seasonings
Add and mix in the couscous and cucumbers
Either toss in salad greens or spoon the mixture over each salad green serving.
- If you're planning to have leftovers for another time, don't mix the salad greens directly into the big bowl. The greens can turn soggy and limp in the dressing instead of bright and crunchy. So keep them separate until you're ready to pack your lunch/prep your meal.