Italian Summer Salad
I remember as a child, walking through my grandpa Marino’s garden and helping him pick a plump, juicy, red tomato right off the vine. After picking just the right one, we would sit in his weathered, folding chairs (that faced the garden) and I waited as he always took the first big bite as though it were an apple. Then from his overalls, he would pull out his mini saltshaker and would sprinkle a little salt on the tomato and smiled as he offered me the next bite. Ah! The versatility of a garden tomato—not only does it taste good no matter how you eat it, but can also make a wonderful memory.
Garden tomatoes are so good right off the vine and this Italian Summer Salad has been in my mom’s Italian family for generations and it’s absolutely amazing. Using only garden vegetables from either your own garden or farmers market, and a few simple ingredients, you will let the vegetables shine in this dish. Don’t ever underestimate fresh ingredients like seasonal fruits and vegetables. They will help make your meals delicious with minimal effort.
2-3 large garden tomatoes
Never store tomatoes in your refrigerator; you will lose the true taste of the tomato.
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 garden cucumbers thinly sliced
Olive oil and apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian crusty bread (as your spoon)
In a medium bowl:
Slice your garden tomatoes, and using a bread knife, quarter your tomatoes and then cut in half again and place in bowl.
Cut red onion in half and thinly slice.
Thinly slice your cucumbers (I like to leave the skin on.)
For your basil, tear off about 4-5 leaves, stack and roll up together. Take your knife and slice your basil in thin slices.
Like the Basic Italian Salad, lightly drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and give a few splashes of apple cider vinegar to the garden vegetables. Lightly dust with kosher salt and a few grinds of your pepper mill. Gently toss—and again, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in salad bowls with Italian crusty bread, and if you want to do what the Italian’s do—use your bread as a fork (and for dunking of course.) Trust me, this salad will be a summer favorite.