It’s been very quiet on this blog for the last few months. Perhaps an indication that my life has been anything but.
Now we are over the rush of Christmas, summer holidays, New Year, spending quality time with the kids, starting preschool and getting back into school life. Life is slowly but surely settling into a predictable routine, leaving me with a little more time for my creative pursuits. Namely, this blog!
With this settling down also comes the realisation that summer is coming to a close. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m looking forward to the cooler months, snuggling under the doona, winter casseroles and, most importantly, the almost total disappearance of the ants that are infesting our area. (I have a phobia and I’m not using that term lightly!) I’m not looking forward to early darkness (though it’s great for getting the kids to bed early), cold hands and losing summer produce like watermelons, mangos and the humble tomato.
Tomatoes are a food that we often take for granted, not even realising they’re seasonal. We can grab a can of peeled tomatoes anytime and fresh tomatoes seem to be available all year round. Unfortunately fresh tomatoes are not worth eating all year round, so save them for use in cooking with lots of salt in the off season!
As I was lamenting the end of the tomato season today, I noticed on the Sydney Markets website that March is still a peak period for tomatoes, even though it’s the first month of Autumn here in Sydney. So to celebrate the end of summer, and to showcase one of summer’s truly delicious fruits, I want to share with you my family recipe for tomato salad.
My recipe has been adapted from my mother’s tomato salad, a staple on our summer table. I’m often asked for this recipe and it’s a versatile dish, being equally at home as a barbecue side dish or as part of a light lunch with some good crusty bread. With only 5 ingredients, this is a simple dish, and so needs optimum quality produce and ingredients. Use only Extra Virgin Olive Oil and ripe tomatoes. I like vine ripened tomatoes, but you can use any type of juicy tomato, as long as it is flavoursome. Salt is a key ingredient too, so use a premium product like Murray River Pink Salt, Himalayan pink salt, or good sea salt flakes.
Vary the amounts of ingredients to suit your tastes and the number of people you are serving. I suggest half to one tomato per person is a good guide. Shallots are added to taste but I find about a tablespoon of chopped shallots per tomato works for me. Add a decent sprinkling of dried oregano (good quality please). Be sure to add plenty of salt, especially if the tomatoes aren’t as flavoursome as they could be. Tomatoes love salt! Finally, add enough oil to coat the tomatoes and carry the flavours of the ingredients.
Because tomatoes are served at room temperature, it’s possible to prepare most of this salad a little ahead of time. Add the salt and oil just prior to serving. When the salad has been eaten, you’ll hopefully be left with salty tomato juices and oil in the bowl. Don’t waste this. Grab some crusty bread and dip it in! Delicious.
With this salad, Summer, I celebrate your beauty and bid you farewell!
Tomatoes (½-1 per person)
Shallots (Scallions) chopped – 1 tablespoon per tomato
Roughly chop the tomatoes into uneven chunks.
Put chopped shallots into the bottom of serving bowl.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Sprinkle generously with dried oregano.
Add plenty of salt to taste.
Drizzle generously with olive oil.
Toss well to coat tomatoes in oil.
Serve as desired.
Please drop me a line (using the email or reply options below) if you like this recipe. I’m always happy to chat.