Backyard Tomato Salad

Tomato SaladGetting Squirrelly

The other day, one of my Facebook memories from a few years ago popped up…a photo of a monumental pile of ripe tomatoes, squash, peppers and cucumbers. It made me nostalgic and sad.

I can’t explain to you the joy I feel when picking fresh tomatoes, fruits and vegetables from my own garden. (I’m kinda weird that way.) Then, of course, there is how they taste, plus the endless possibilities of what to make with them. There was no joy in Mudville this year.

I usually plant during Spring Break, but since we actually went on vacation this year, my tomatoes went in late. Ditto for the squash and the melons—the odds were stacked against them from the beginning.

The biggest obstacle was the attack from above. Our property is a veritable Squirrel Disneyland. They fly from tree to tree without a care in the world and apparently, when they need a snack, they scamper on over to the veggie buffet that is my garden.

Now, I can’t tell you how many times I went out to check the progress of my plants, excited that there was fruit ripening on the vine, only to find the vermin had gone on a binge. I heard them laughing.

So, no tomatoes this year. However, there is good news. My brother-in-law has more than he can handle, so I am being nice and helping him out by making stuff like this…

Backyard Tomato Salad
The flavor in this tomato salad is accentuated by salting the tomatoes, so don’t be shy of this step. I promise it will be delicious, and not too too salty. So, whether you are gathering tomatoes from you own backyard, or stopping by the store to pick up a variety of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes, this is a fantastic summer tomato salad!

2 1/4 pounds mixed, ripe tomatoes, different shapes and colors
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Leaves and flowers from a few sprigs fresh oregano*
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 fresh red chile pepper, seeded and chopped

Prepare the tomatoes
Slice your tomatoes according to their size, some in half, others in slices, and others quartered. The variety of the slicing makes for a great presentation, and shows off the variety.

Place your tomatoes in a colander, and season with a good pinch of sea salt. Toss them, and season again. The salt will draw off excess moisture, and improve the flavor. Allow to drain in colander for about 15 minutes.

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl with the oregano.

Make the dressing
Mix one part vinegar to 3 parts oil with the garlic and chili in a bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes to coat well, season with salt an pepper to taste. Serve.

*You can substitute dried, but fresh will have more flavor.

And here are some other delicious tomato recipes:
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
Tomato Cobbler with Blue Cheese Biscuits
Kitty’s Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish
Tomato, Peach & Avocado Bruschetta
Eggplant and Squash Tian
Beef Short Ribs with Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos & Herbs
Chicken with Herb-Roasted Tomatoes and Pan Sauce
Grilled Cheese BLT

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