Season’s greetings (to tomatoes)

I went all-out this year planting tomatoes. 8 plants should keep us plenty busy. And Sunday, after overcoming a wet spring and early summer, our first batch arrived: three small, red guys the size of a tennis ball.

“Let’s have all vegetables for dinner,” my distressingly vegetarian-oriented 6 year old son said as we admired our haul.

And so the kids each got a small pizza crust  (previously frozen, from Uprise Bakery) and an array of toppings for one of our favorite activities: Make Your Own Pizza Night. Used up zucchini, tomatoes, onion and basil. But MYOPN isn’t going to cut it once all 8 plants start throwing fruit…I’ll need to call in some heavy artillery:

Tomato, Cucumber, and Red Onion Salad

 

By Faith Willinger

When I came back from California to a delivery from my favorite farmers, I made this salad with the season’s first Riccio Fiorentino tomatoes.

    • 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes (from garden or farmers’ market)
    • 4 tablespoons finest quality extra virgin olive oil (I use Castello di Ama)
    • sea salt
    • fresh pepper
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil, ripped or coarsely chopped
    • 2 cucumbers (optional). Note: if cucumbers aren’t fresh and local, skip them.
    • 1 medium sized red onion, coarsely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • bread

Sharpen your knife. If you don’t have a really sharp blade, use a cheapo Ginsu-type knife.

Slice tomatoes in half through the core. Remove the core, leaving only the red flesh of the tomatoes. Squeeze tomatoes over a sieve into a serving bowl to remove seeds and juice. Press seeds over the bowl to extract all juice. Cut tomatoes into pieces and add to juice in serving bowl.

Dress with extra virgin, sea salt, pepper, and basil. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, remove seeds (with pointy end of potato peeler), cut into bite-sized pieces, season lightly with salt and place in a bowl for at least 10 minutes.

Marinate onion with vinegar and a pinch of sea salt for at least 10 minutes. Drain cucumbers and add to tomatoes along with onions and their vinegar. Serve with bread to soak up juices, scarpetta-style. Or slice bread and top with tomato salad and juice.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

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