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In our family, there has only ever been one recipe for tomato salad: this Tomato Salad with Herby Dressing. The reason for this is simple: if you’ve made this super easy, super pretty, and super delicious tomato salad, you’ll never feel the need to make another. (Note: though, if I’m serving Mexican-inspired food, I make this Pico de Gallo Tomato Salad instead!)
Every summer we have always grown our own tomatoes in a massive, industrial sized greenhouse that my great grandfather had built. Because of this, every single summer I can remember we have had a glut of tomatoes, and all of our family have become experts on the very best of most tomato recipes people enjoy.
While we may all be experts on tomato recipes, as a family we have only just really, properly got into olive oils that are not your run of the mill popular brands like Bertolli and Napolina. Usually we just buy what we know we like and is on special offer when we have run out, but recently Pomora have started sending me deliveries of their wonderful oils, and I’ve found that their peppery, fresh, cold pressed Olio Nuovo pairs absolutely beautifully with fresh tomatoes.
The concept behind Pomora is simple. From £29 per quarter you can adopt an Italian olive tree, supporting local farmers in the region; on adoption, you will know the name of your farmer and in what part of Italy your tree is located; you get a choice depending on what profile of oil you prefer. Then, as well as updates about the welfare of your tree, you’ll receive three cans of oil each quarter. You can find out more here.
In our first delivery we also had a can of their garlic infused extra virgin olive oil along with some more basic cooking and dressing oil which is absolutely wonderful. Out new favourite thing to do with slightly stale slices of bread is brush them with the oil and barbecue them, making for a delicious, thrifty, summer time garlic bread.
They also make a rosemary (this makes the best roast potatoes), lemon (delicious drizzled over creamy white slabs of feta), basil, chilli (perfect for adding a little heat to pasta sauces), and white truffle oil (which is stunning in salad dressings). For general extra virgin olive oil usage (and in this house, unless we want a specific flavour for regional cooking, olive is our default), we’ve stopped using anything else.
There are two elements to this tomato salad. Either large or small, red or heirloom tomatoes (whatever you’ve got, really), sliced and spread out across a pretty painted serving plate, with a herby, spring oniony, lemony, garlicky jam jar dressing spooned over the top.
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You can make the dressing up to a day in advance; I make this dish both for casual, day to day eating, and for summer dinner parties and suppers for friends.
It is difficult to say how many people this would serve. Just judge a few spoonfuls of tomatoes per person, and the proportions for this dressing will cover enough tomatoes for 3-5 people. There are no rules with this really; I find red spring onions make this dish prettier, but white work perfectly well. Basil would be a good edition, and while we’ve always made this with curly parsley, it works perfectly well with flat-leaf, too. Oh, and the recipe is adapted from one of those ‘extra’ non-recipe recipes from the back of Rick Stein’s French Odyssey (ad) – is it just me or are these usually the best recipes in his books?
This is the only tomato salad recipe you’ll ever need. Use the best, ripest tomatoes you can find, even if this means using baby tomatoes which will take a bit longer to slice.
2 Spring Onions
Small Handful Curly Parsley
1 Small Garlic Clove
2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt (I used Breton Fleur de Sel)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Enough Tomatoes for 3-5 people
To make the dressing, thinly slice the spring onions (white and green parts), chop the parsley, and peel and crush the garlic clove and combine in a jam jar with a lid along with the lemon juice, olive oil, and a generous amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously until everything is combined. Alternatively, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Stash the dressing in the fridge until you need it.
Slice the tomatoes, and spread them out over a serving dish. Shake the jar of dressing one more time to make sure nothing has separated, and spoon it evenly over the tomatoes. Serve straight away.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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