A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins. – Laurie Colwin
The days of fall and summer have been rapidly fading away in Ithaca, yet I was able to hang onto the last bits of warmth through a few fortunate days of sunshine plus the last batches of tomatoes from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share at Early Morning Farm. We savored tomatoes in abundance throughout the season, and being part of the CSA really allowed us to enjoy as many of the amazing red fruit as we could possibly consume through sandwiches, soups, and salads. Speaking of salads, tomato salad is something so simple and refreshing that it has summer labeled all over it. I can only long for the days of next year when I can enjoy it again without having to buy non-seasonal tomatoes from somewhere halfway around the world.
Dressed in quintessential Italian flavor, the ingredients are rather few yet effective. Sweet basil, crunchy red onions, savory tuna chunks, and intense, tart olives all complement the ripeness of the tomatoes, especially after being tossed with an ever so simple balsamic vinaigrette. I think one of the best parts about tomato salad is that precision is not a big emphasis — in fact, roughly chopping the ingredients and eyeballing the amounts are really okay and only adds to the rustic aspect of the salad. It is best served with crusty Italian bread (pane) to soak up the juices. A glass of crisp and light-bodied Pinot Grigio can’t hurt either.
Tomato Salad Recipe
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- 2 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 can (5 ounces) Albacore Tuna in extra virgin olive oil, drained and flaked with a fork*
- 1/2 cup Niçoise olives
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- Handful basil leaves, roughly torn or chopped
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Gently toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Let marinate for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.
- Chef knife & cutting board
- Large mixing bowl
- Large spoons or tongs for tossing
- *I really prefer to use tuna that was caught by trolling or pole and line methods whenever possible. Learn more about global tuna issues via Seafood Watch and Wild Planet Foods.
- Use taggiasche olives if possible, but Niçoise olives are much easier to find