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BackstoryThere's pretty much only one time of year you can make this salad; that's when tomatoes are in season. So gorge yourself on it during the summer, when tomatoes are ripe. It's great all on its own or as a quick side to a grilled steak.
It's bright and fruity and meaty and herbaceous and pungent and just about any other adjective you can think of. ONLY use perfectly ripe tomatoes - those hothouse ones you get at the grocery store won't cut it. They're mealy and bland and to be blunt, they'll make your salad suck. If possible, pick up some tomatoes at a farmer's market and make this salad the same day. And don't dress the salad more than an hour ahead - the whole thing will turn to mush if left to sit too long.
Since this is such a simple salad, I wouldn't make many additions. But you can swap out ingredients for a different flavor profile. Instead of basil and balsamic, parsley and red wine vinegar, or mint and champagne vinegar. You can swap out shallots for onions. And you might try adding some cubed, day-old bread, to make a panzanella-style salad. But that's it.
- 3 large ripe tomatoes (heirloom varieties are best), wedged and cored
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, slightly crushed
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Place the tomato wedges and onion slices into separate colanders (or the same colander, if it's big enough) in a single layer.
- Sprinkle both sides of the tomatoes and onions with kosher salt.
- Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
- Remove tomatoes and onions from colanders.
- Brush off excess salt and dab excess moisture with paper towel.
- If using a wooden salad bowl, take the crushed garlic clove and rub it into the bottom of the wooden bowl (if not using a wooden salad bowl, place the clove of garlic in with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to steep).
- Place the onions and tomatoes in the bowl.
- Finely shred the basil and add to the bowl.
- Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil, dress the salad, toss and serve.