Quick and cool tomato salads for summer


This week I’ve been busy working the Salem County Fair, so I haven’t had my usual time for daily cooking. It’s also been so hot and humid outside, I’ve been craving cool summer salads and meals to enjoy – either packed up in my cooler to eat at the fair, or when I get home at the end of the evening and just want a light bite before bed.

Meanwhile my tomato plants are still producing fruit in overload, so I’ve had to come up with some quick ways to enjoy them. Of course, nothing screams summer in New Jersey more than Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella salad. Most Italians around these parts make the salad with big and juicy Jersey beefsteak tomatoes. But I also enjoy it with slices of my home grown San Marzano plum tomatoes.

Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Salad

I always think of my partner’s mother, Elsie, when I make this salad. I never used to particularly enjoy raw tomatoes (except in salsa) until I first tasted her preparation of this dish one summer. It was a revelation at the time and still a dish I associate with fond memories of her.

Speaking of salsa, I also made a fun one to go with some quick grilled swordfish steaks. My purple beans are still growing well and I enjoy the crunch and color of them in a salsa along with juicy red tomatoes. Combined with a local sweet cubanelle pepper and red onion, it was delicious and refreshing, with very little seasoning needed besides salt, pepper, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Tomato and Purple Bean Salsa

I also was craving some pasta salad. I like to do something a little different, however, and use Fregola for this, instead of more standard pasta “noodles”. These little toasted balls of semolina dough are so tasty and have a slightly nutty flavor, so you can also use it in a lot of dishes as an alternative to couscous, farro or rice. Here I just mixed it with some raw chopped tomatoes, a red bell pepper, chives, olives and a dressing with balsamic vinegar. Simple and simply delicious.

Fregola Salad

Related posts:

  • Heirloom Tomato “Caesar Salad”Heirloom Tomato “Caesar Salad” Yesterday one of my neighbors brought over some beautiful yellow and variegated tomatoes from his organic garden - it seems none of us right now have any shortage of beautiful tomatoes […]
  • What’s been cooking…the summer editionWhat’s been cooking…the summer edition Well, it's been a while since I've checked in, mostly as July was a horribly busy month with some serious ups and downs. One of the downs was me being out of commission with a bad summer […]
  • Tomato Season is Here.Tomato Season is Here. It's definitely tomato-time in South Jersey right now. After getting a few early ripe picks last week from my garden, this week they're starting to come out in earnest. My San Marzanos and […]
  • I might be in need of a gardening intervention.I might be in need of a gardening intervention. I moved out of Philadelphia to South Jersey last summer, and one of the things I was looking forward to was finally having a chance to start gardening in earnest. Yes, I'd had an itty […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *