Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
4 to 6 Servings
I know I've been on a tomato kick lately, but I'm running out of time in terms of the season. Even though fall is rapidly approaching, there are still gorgeous tomatoes to be had, and it is imperative that you have this wonderful recipe in your quiver. It might be my very favorite recipe. Of all time. Every time I eat it, I can't get over how good it is.
You can use any very ripe tomatoes, even cherry tomatoes cut in half, for this delicious salad.
Definitely try this if good vine-ripened tomatoes are still available in your garden
and keep it in mind for next year when tomato season is once again upon us.
Garlic-Scented Tomato Salad
4 to 5 garlic cloves
Maldon Salt or kosher salt
Excellent quality red wine vinegar - I love O Zinfandel Vinegar
2 pounds fresh, ripe, ripe, ripe (get the point?) tomatoes
Optional - a chiffonade of basil made with about 12 fresh basil leaves (basil leaves, washed, dried, and cut into shreds with a sharp knife)
Extra-virgin olive oil
This list of ingredients is just a starting point. You can use as many or as few tomatoes as you like, adjusting the other ingredients accordingly.
After you smash the garlic cloves with the flat blade of a chef's knife, the skin will slip off easily.
Put the cloves of garlic in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons vinegar and about 1-1/2 teaspoons Maldon Salt crushed between your fingers or kosher salt. I know this will seem like too much salt, but it isn't. (If it turns out to be too much for you, change it next time, but the first time you should try it this way.) Stir (your finger works well for this), and let steep at least 20 minutes.
Slice the tomatoes and spread the slices out on a platter, or cut tomatoes in chunks and put them in a bowl.
Just before serving, pour the garlic-steeped vinegar through a small wire strainer over the tomatoes. Pour a little olive oil over the tomatoes, optionally sprinkle with the pieces of basil, and serve immediately.
Sliced tomatoes on a platter dressed with the salad makes a beautiful presentation, especially on a buffet table, but sliced tomatoes are not as easy to eat as chunks of tomatoes and don't work as well in every situation. For instance, I often dress a salad separately with a mustard vinaigrette and then top it with chunks of tomatoes dressed this way.
To see just the recipe, click here.