Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day One Ninety Seven - Tomatoes Galore

This is the time of year for tomatoes -- luscious, ripe, juicy, and so flavorful! Too bad summer tomatoes aren't available year round, the tomatoes that get shipped in from somewhere in the Caribbean in the wintertime, just don't do the fantastic fruit justice. Tomatoes are definitely one of my fridge essentials at all times, I even like to have a few versions if I can, cherries, plums, maybe an heirloom, and definitely some sundrieds. There are more than 7500 varieties of tomatoes grown worldwide, isn't that insane!?

Anyhow, I thought on this rainy grey chilly afternoon, I thought I'd lift everyone's spirits with a bright, fresh, and delish tomato salad. Simple, delish, nutritious, satisfying and good for a day like today! This salad utilizes some of the classic Greek

1 lb of tomatoes - preferably heirlooms or other larger tomatoes, cherry or plum tomatoes do not work here.
2 avocados
2 Persian Cucumbers
2 small French Breakfast Radishes
1/3 lb of fresh French Feta (You may wonder why French and not Greek feta right? French feta is much less salty than its Greek cousin and much better for our simple salad purposes)
1/4 large red onion diced

Dressing - Basil/Parsley Pesto
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pine nuts
Crushed Red Pepper
A tiny drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar

The preparation for this salad is extremely simple. You need to dice up the tomatoes, season with some salt, fresh oregano, crushed black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Let those marinate in their own juices while preparing everything else. Next up, dice up the avocados into small squares. The addition of the avocado will give you a nice creaminess to the salad. Place the avocados in a separate bowl. I usually am not a fan of skinning one's cucumbers but in this case, I think it is a nice thing to do, so skin your cucumbers and then dice into small squares. Then dice up the french breakfast radishes which will add a nice fresh spice quotient to the salad. Last dice up extremely finely your red onion. Combine all of the salad ingredients except for the tomato and the feta and mix together in one bowl, this will give the avocado time to meld with the radishes, onions, and cucumbers. Now, next up, it is time to make your pesto, you do not want an especially thick pesto as a dressing here, but a thin, liquidy version, so I recommend only placing a small amount of pinenuts into your food processor so you don't thicken it too much. Once you've made your basil/parsley pesto, place to the side and then cube your french feta. Now combine the tomatoes and other veggies and then dress with a small amount of your basil/parsley pesto and then top with your cubed french feta -- combine all together! Enjoy this with a nice glass of light minerally white wine.

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