Heirloom Tomato Salads (and Beets!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This time of year, the farmers' market in Fort Greene is filled with tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes. Usually I'll buy a couple of the pricey-but-beautiful heirloom tomatoes on Saturday, knowing that mid-week they'll make a simple, summer salad. When perfectly ripe, a good tomato is delicious all on its own, but I didn't need to tell you that. However, I usually make a salad of tomatoes, fresh herbs, a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of dressing and occasionally another vegetable (or fruit) like the avocado-tomato salad above.

Until a few years ago, I thought tomato, mozzarella and basil was the be-all, end-all of tomato salads, but in the past few years, I have delighted in finding new combination of flavors, like tomato, goat cheese and mint -- a revelation! A recent "aha!" moment was the Beet and Tomato Salad in the September issue of Everyday Food. The combo of the tomatoes, beets and fresh oregano was a whole new spin on the summer tomato salad -- I loved it.

For this recipe, EF recommends roasting beets, but we cheated and used Rocal Ready To Eat Beets (below), which I believe are a French import (we find them at Fairway). Slice 2 beets and 3 tomatoes to similar thickness and arrange them on a platter. Make a dressing of 3 t. olive oil, 2 t. red-wine vinegar, 1 minced shallot and salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes and beets with the dressing and then sprinkle with a tablespoon (or more) of fresh oregano leaves.



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