Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tomato, Basil and Olive Salad

Tomatoes are undoubtedly the stars of summer - juicy, fragrant and toothsome. And when they first appear in the farmers market or your grocery store or better yet in your garden, they need no dressing up. Popping the little ones in your mouth or biting into them like peaches is one of life's great pleasures. Adding fresh basil is simply crowning all that glory with the next best thing.

This dish hardly deserves a recipe but really is just a reminder of how delicious a plate of sliced tomatoes with basil leaves can be. A few sprinkles of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and you have one of the greatest "salads" of all time. Slip a few slices of fresh mozzarella between the tomatoes and you have the classic Caprese salad that is almost de rigor on summer menus at most restaurants. But don't let its commonplace fool you into thinking this is a boring ole salad. There's a reason that it is ubiquitous because it is one of the best ways to enjoy this gorgeous fruit!

For me, basil, tomato and olive oil salads always include olives, usually oil-cured Moroccan olives as pictured above, but that's just my palate. While many people love the beefsteak or Jersey tomatoes that are starting to make their appearance right about now, I am partial to the roma or plum tomato. Slice up three or four of those, add some bread and my dinner is done!

Sure you can tart this dish up if you choose, but my philosophy on tomato and basil is similar to my feelings about pizza toppings - less is more. Savor the easy prep and the simplicity of tomato and basil and enjoy the best of summer in every bite.

Tomato, Basil and Olive Salad

1-2 tomatoes per serving (depending on the size of your tomatoes)
basil leaves (1 per slice)
4-5 oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
olive oil

Slice tomatoes thinly and arrange like shingles on a serving plate. Slip basil leaves between each slice of tomato. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle olives over top if using. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow salt to draw out tomato juices. Serve at room temperature.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Blueberry Lemon Verbena Pie at 101 Cookbooks
Old Fashioned (Tofu) Chicken Salad at Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen
Beef and Chili Bean Lettuce Cups at Very Culinary

1 comment:

Pam said...

Why did I never think to add olives to this classic salad??