Chances are, if you grace my dinner table anytime between June and October, you'll be digging into a heaping bowl of tomato salad. My weekly farmers market trip practically revolves around their acquisition, and I can predict with startling accuracy my mood for the week based on whether I got my fill or not.
More often than not, the tomatoes are destined for the simplest of salads: sliced (or halved, in the case of cherry tomatoes) and dressed with a hefty sprinkle of sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, if that, because the best Summer tomatoes don't really need to be gussied up.
This, however, is a game changer. It's likely that I might have simply skipped over this recipe and kept with tradition, greedily gobbling bowl after bowl of the simply dressed fruit, but something about this salad drew me in. Perhaps it was its provenance (I'll almost always blindly follow recipe advice from Melissa Clark) or maybe it was the addition of fish sauce (I'm a sucker for the briny liquid). Either way, I'd suggest that you too break out of your comfort zone and give this variation on the classic Summer salad a try.
Keep reading for the innovative (but simple) recipe.
Adapted from Melissa Clark
Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad
2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
3 large or 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh Thai or regular basil, cut into a chiffonade
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the sliced tomato, cucumber, scallions, and jalapeño, basil, and cilantro; gently toss to coat.
- This salad dressing is oil-free and is delicious as is, though a sparing drizzle of toasted sesame oil wouldn't hurt, if you're so inclined.