Saturday, July 24, 2010

Italian By Proxy or YUM A SALAD!

A few years ago a friend introduced me to the joys of tomato and cucumber salad.  Why I never thought of that combination before I'll never know, but since then it's been one of my favorites.  The basic salad was just cucumbers, tomatoes, and Italian dressing. 

But oh... it can be so. much. more.  So I tweaked my own dressing recipe for it and it's become something that I bring to picnics by special request.  The recipe below is what I make for my own family, but I double it when I bring it to a picnic or a party. 

Italian Tomato Cucumber Salad:
1 dry pint Roma plum tomatoes OR grape tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil; or a blend)
1 tsp Italian seasoning OR several freshly chopped basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp powdered garlic OR equal fresh crushed then finely chopped garlic.
1.  Cut cucumber in half longways. 
2.  Cut each cucumber half into half again, longways. 
3.  Slice cucumbers down into bite sized chunks; they'll be shaped like triangles.  Test the bite sizes to make sure they're  only one bite and not larger. 
4.  Place cucumber chunks into medium sized bowl.
5.  If you're using Roma tomatoes, cut them the same way as the cucumbers.  If you're using grape tomatoes simply cut them in half the long way, diagonally. 
6.  Place tomatoes into the bowl with the cucumbers, then gently toss until blended evenly.
7.  Put all of the dressing ingredients into an airtight container with a tight lid and shake well, or give a good whiz in a mini food processor.
8.  Pour the dressing all over cucumbers and tomatoes, then cover and place in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours.  Best if chilled to marinate overnight.
9.  Stir before serving.

Serving suggestions
1.  Serve as is as a salad or a side salad..
2.  Serve on top of a greens salad. 
3.  Just before serving add freshly cut chunks of fresh mozzarella from the local deli. 
4.  While cutting up tomatoes and cucumbers, you can also coarsely chop a small-to-medium Vidalia onion and add it to the salad.
5.  Of course you can cheat and use your favorite brand of bottled Italian dressing ;-).

No comments: