Tomato Salad Recipe
There are few things that scream summer more than this tomato salad recipe. This is actually a riff on Lina’s Insalata di Pomodoro Calabrese recipe. The underripe tomatoes, peperoncino, and mix of basil and oregano make a ‘sauce’ you’ll want to drink straight out of the bowl!
Making Tomato Salad With Green Tomatoes
We’re partial to green tomatoes for this recipe. Look for large green tomatoes that are just starting to turn to red (that striping is very pretty!). They should be firm and easy to cut. Green tomatoes work best for several reasons. First, they aren’t as sweet as fully ripe tomatoes so they make for a great herbaceous salad. Second, they’re firmer and there’s less liquid so much easier to cut, serve, plate, etc. Basically, less ripe tomatoes make a lot less mess. Green tomatoes aren’t always easy to come by though so you’ll probably be following the additional steps below more often than not.
Making Tomato Salad With Red Tomatoes
Red tomato salad is just as delicious as green tomato salad, it’s just a little sweeter. We prefer to use very large tomatoes. If the tomatoes are extra juicy you may want to discard the liquid and seeds. You technically could skip this part, it’s entirely up to you.
Use a very sharp knife to slice ripe tomatoes. If your chef’s knife isn’t doing the job (it needs to be sharpened!) try a serrated one. Once you’ve cut the tomato in half or quarters, scoop out the interior and drain the juices as best you can. Don’t throw out those delicious tomato insides. You can use them in a broth or a sauce.
If you want this salad extra, extra saucy and will be consuming it immediately you can skip the step above. Again, this could mean your salad would be quite soupy, but it’s tomato juice, and if you’re looking for a delicious dipping sauce for bread…
Salt Makes Tomatoes Soupy
Have you ever been to a potluck and someone brings a tomato salad and by the time they pull the saran wrap off it’s a pile of mush tomatoes? While there probably is a time for mushy tomatoes this isn’t it! When you add salt to tomatoes they will release liquid (just like in the fritelle di zucchine recipe). The longer the tomatoes sit the more liquid they will release. If you want to dive into the knitty gritty tomato liquid this article by Serious Eats is awesome!
If you want this salad to stay ‘dry’ then don’t add the salt until the very end or until right before serving. If you’re bringing this to a potluck or a friend’s house try to prepare it there. If that’s not possible then have everything chopped in the bowl and add the tomatoes last without stirring. Salt and stir upon arrival.
Tomato Salad (Insalata di Pomodoro Calabrese)
- 4 large unripe tomatoes, approx. 2.2lbs or 1 kg (green, turning to red and firm are best)
- 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced into 1" to 1 1/2" long pieces
- 7 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- 2 pinches dried oregano (optional, but recommended)
- 1/2 tsp salt (plus some to taste)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small finely chopped peperoncino (optional)
Add onion, peperoncino, oregano, and basil to a large bowl. Cover with olive oil. Stir and let sit mintues.
Slice tomatoes into approximately 1/2" slices. Discard additional liquid and seeds if desired. Place in bowl.
Note: see paragraph above about discarding tomato liquid and seeds.
Add salt. Stir. Serve immediately.