I’ve been craving tomatoes so badly. On Wednesday, I had the fantastic opportunity to lunch with a girlfriend. She made amazing chicken sandwiches with marinated peppers and balsamic vinegar. I made a tomato basil salad. Prior to this week, I had never eaten or made this kind of salad. It sounded so crisp and simple, though. I couldn’t help but know I’d love it. I did some research and found the basic tomato basil salad is simply sliced, salted tomatoes with basil chiffonade and olive oil drizzled on top. I also discovered that the best place to find good tomatoes are in your garden, fruit/vegetable stands, farmers markets or local organic markets. Grocery stores tend to “breed” their tomatoes for looks rather then flavor. Look for tomatoes with rich color, that aren’t too hard and not to soft. Obviously, avoid the ones with bruises and cuts. You can use pretty much any kind you like. I just stuck with regular globe tomatoes. I also picked up the fun fact of avoiding refrigeration. Apparently popping uncut tomatoes in the refrigerator will suck some of the flavor out. The best place for a ripe tomato is in a dark, room temperature place. I stick mine in a kitchen drawer with my avocados. 🙂 I sliced up my tomatoes, fresh basil and arranged it on plates. I topped it with small mozzarella balls, but you could use feta if you prefer.
The dressing I made was also really simple. I mixed a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil with a splash of vanilla and mint extract. I also shook a smidge of ground cloves into it. Then I just shook it up and refrigerated it for a bit. Once it was cool, I drizzled it over the entire salad plate and generously salt and peppered it. I was actually pretty impressed with how delicious it turned out. It was so fast and easy to pull together and was even more refreshing then I had imagined, making it perfect for hot summer days.