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This refreshingly-light summer salad is my absolute favorite way to enjoy vine-ripened summer tomatoes. It's a quick and easy tummy-satisfying dish on a warm midday when the last thing I want to do is turn on the stove. The juicy tomatoes, sweet onions and rich-tasting Kalamatas are dressed simply with olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. If desired, add whatever other garden veggies you enjoy - our family loves cucumbers; or add a slice of feta and some sliced green peppers and you've got a Greek “village” salad! Don't forget the crusty Italian bread to mop up the tomato and vinaigrette juices.
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1⁄2 ounces capers, drained
- 2 teaspoons chives, snipped
- coarse salt (Kosher or Sea salt)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 -8 vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup kalamata olive, pitted
- 5 ounces cheese (crumbled blue cheese OR curls of Romano cheese made with a vegetable peeler)
- 1⁄3 cup mixed fresh herbs, minced (basil, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, and mint)
- crushed red pepper flakes (to taste) (optional)
- In a medium bowl combine 4 cups of ice cold water and 2 teaspoons salt; stir to dissolve the salt. Add the onion rings; let stand for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, garlic, capers, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil in a stream, whisking; whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified.
- On a chilled deep serving platter, alternate the tomato slices and onion rings, scatter the Kalamatas over them. Drizzle 1/3 - 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad, reserve the remaining vinaigrette.
- Chill salad for 20 minutes. Sprinkle over the top your choice of cheese, the minced herbs, and the red pepper flakes (optional). Drizzle 2 or 3 tablespoons of the reserved vinaigrette over the cheese and herbs. (Any leftover vinaigrette can be refrigerated and used within 1 week.)
- Let salad stand for a minimum of 15 - 20 minutes before serving.
- COOK'S TIP: Because the longer you let the flavors "marry", the better this salad tastes, I like to prepare it early in the morning for a lunchtime snack or light meal.
- COOK'S TIP: This quick and delicious salad makes a terriffic filling for pita bread or baguette sandwiches, and a yummy topping for bruschetta.
- Buon appetito!