I am getting excited because we have lots of green tomatoes on the vines in our garden right now. I am looking forward to tomato season, when we eat tomatoes from the garden every day — practically every meal — and still have enough to puree or slow-roast and freeze for the winter.
It is still too early to eat tomatoes from the garden, but local tomatoes are making an appearance at the farmers market and co-op, and they are almost as good. The fact is, every summer I can’t wait to eat tomatoes. That’s because the rest of the year, tomatoes aren’t worth buying; grocery store tomatoes have no flavor. I would rather stick with canned tomatoes during the colder months and just gorge myself on fresh tomatoes when they are in season.
The absolutely best way to eat garden-fresh tomatoes is in the classic BLT sandwich, in my opinion. But this salad runs a close second. You really don’t need a recipe for this. I never measure out ingredients for this salad; I just put it together by eye and taste.
Start with 1-2 garden-fresh tomatoes per person. Slice them and arrange the slices on a large platter. Sprinkle the slices with coarse sea salt and and let sit for a few minutes. This salad is very pretty with different colored heirloom tomatoes.
Sprinkle the tomato slices with 2 tablespoons vinegar; I prefer sherry or balsamic vinegar for this salad, but red wine vinegar is also good. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with pepper. Wash and sliver a handful of basil leaves, and scatter them over the top. Serve.
If you like, you can alternate the tomato slices with thin slices of Vidalia or red onion, or slices of a soft cheese, such as goat cheese or fresh mozzarella. If you use mozzarella, you’ll have made a classic Caprese salad, of course.