Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Egyptian Tomato Salad


Admire the gorgeous, un-photoshopped red of the tomato salad above. Would you believe, dear reader, that those tomatoes were a pale greenish-pink mere days before this photo was taken? ToastMom and I bought a crate at Costco is preparation for Easter lunch. I was unconcerned about the pathetic state of the fruit. A combination of poaching and steeping makes any tomato palatable (hell, delicious) in this, my ultimate salad standby: Egyptian tomato salad.

The recipe is quite quick and easy. Don't be put off by the poaching of the tomatoes. It's just boiling some water, which even the biggest kitchen retard can handle. And because the salad is best when it's been sitting around at room temperature for awhile, it's a great "I'll bring the salad" salad.

***
Egyptian Tomato Salad
(adapted from Nigella Bites*)

In a small bowl, combine and set aside:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
4 scallions, white parts only, minced
OR
1/4 medium onion, minced
OR
2 shallots, minced (though this is what the original recipe calls for, I have never made it this way, because I have issues with shallots)
Pinch sea salt
Ground black pepper

Boil a kettle of water.

In a large bowl, place:
5 medium tomatoes (You can use any kind you like. Of course, perfect tomatoes improve the salad, but I'm not kidding when I say that this is good when made with greenish supermarket beefsteaks, too. Don't use tiny ones, though, you'll go nuts with all the peeling.)

Pour the boiling water over the tomatoes and let rest for five minutes. Drain the water, and let the tomatoes cool until you can handle them--cold water can be used to speed this process. At this point, you should be able to remove the skin from the tomatoes with your fingers. Just rub and the skin breaks and rolls away. Core and slice the now-naked, creepily fleshy, but cheerfully bright red tomatoes. I cut them into 1/4 inch disks, but do whatever works for you--skinny wedges, slightly thicker slices, haphazard massacre, etc.

Put the cut tomatoes into a serving bowl, and toss with the olive oil dressing. The beauty of this salad is that improves as it sits. I leave mine resting at room temperature for an hour or two to maximize its flavor, but refrigerate if you like. But be sure to serve at room temperature or you'll lose half the taste. As the salad sits, it generates juices. If you find them unslightly, feel free to decant to another serving dish. I usually don't. Also, the leftover juices/tomato bits make a great light dressing for spare pasta.

Right before serving, sprinkle with:
Small handful fresh basil (or other similar herb), shredded
Squeeze of lemon juice

That's it. It's simple, and offers fresh tomato tastiness, even when there are no tasty fresh tomatoes around.

*Sorry for the Nigella binge lately--there's more coming.

80 comments:

Katherine said...

I just noticed that I took the photo before adding the basil. Whoops.

Alanna said...

My first reaction: WHERE did she get tomatoes like that this time of year? My second reaction: HMMMM, must try this with the "recommended" Costo-type tomatoes. Thanks for the inspiration! Alanna

Cate said...

Love Nigella - thanks for the recipe!

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