Tomato and Onion Salad

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Tomato and Onion Salad

Good tomatoes are one of the defining tastes of summer. Right now we have beautiful ones coming into Britain from Italy and Spain, and the plants in my garden are covered with little yellow blossoms. I know that it won't be too long before I am going to be able to enjoy that fresh picked off the vine taste here in my own kitchen.

When you're shopping for tomatoes, pick them up and smell them. If they smell strong and tomato-ey, they're likely to taste good. You want them firm to the touch, and without any soft spots which can indicate spoilage. You often see them "on the vine." They look lovely on the vine, but they're more expensive that way. 

 Truth is they don't necessarily have any better flavour than those off the vine. This is just a gimmick that is used to get you to pay more. If anything it's the variety that makes the biggest difference in taste, not whether they are on the stem or not. The ones on the stem may have a stronger fragrance but that is coming from the stem, not from the actual fruit.

Tomato and Onion Salad

For eating raw, choose sweet cherry tomatoes or bigger, juicier varieties. For stuffing and cooking the dryer textured plum tomatoes are always best. They keep their shape when long cooked and reduce to a sweet and intense tomato sauce better than any other.

I never store my tomatoes in the fridge. (A little tip that I picked up from my mom, thanks mom!) Storing them in the fridge changes their texture and diminishes their taste. I keep mine in a bowl in a corner on my kitchen counter. 

 Tomatoes are not really at their ripest when you buy them at the shops. Leaving in a bowl at room temperature helps them to ripen to their fullest and brings out their best flavours.

Tomato and Onion Salad

Skinning tomatoes is really quite easy. Take your tomatoes and score an "X" lightly with the tip of a very sharp knife on the bottom end. Drop them into a bowl of boiling water and let them sit for 20 to 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a perforated spoon and the skin should peel off very easily. If you have any difficulty at all, return them to the water for a few more seconds.

Here's a delicious salad that I love to make on warm days. Simple to make and with simple ingredients, this really showcases lovely ripe tomatoes at their very best.

Tomato and Onion Salad

*Tomato and Onion Salad*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

Simple and delicious, I could eat a whole plate of this all on it's own, with maybe only a slice of buttered bread on the side. Plan ahead as it needs to sit for several hours before eating.

1 small red onion, peeled and sliced very thinly
6 ripe tomatoes, sliced into thick wedges
2 to 3 tsp dried oregano
(I use Barts. It has nice big flakes)
really good quality extra virgin olive oil
white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Gently layer everything together , seasoning with salt and pepper at you go. Drench with the olive oil and then add a tiny splash of the vinegar. Allow to sit for several hours before eating. Delicious!


  1. Lovely, Marie! So happy it's tomato time again... After the long winter here, we're eager for ripe tomatoes tasting of summer sun! :o) Happy Day, my friend. Love You ((HUGS))

  2. Wonderful "new" site, Marie! Your recipes and photos look wonderful. Very inviting.

  3. Our tomatoes are a traiing variety of 3 plants in a pot on the patio. One of the plants even has some tiny green tomatoes on it already. I hope we get some more sun to ripen them off.

    Tomato and onion salad - mmm nice starter for an al fresco lunch. Tomato and garlic is good too. Crusty bread to mop up the dressing - yum yum!

    love, Angie, xx

  4. I can't wait for tomatoes to show up at our farmer's market! Can't wait!!! I loathe buying those nasty generic tomatoes at the grocery store. They always taste (if there is any taste at all) awful. Darn my ever hopeful optimism, I always end up buying them and hoping that for once I'll get a good one.

    The minute the 'heirloom tomato lady' shows her face at the market I am going to buy her out and rush home to make this!

  5. Wonderful recipe Marie, I really love tomatoes and we eat all the year, xxx but the best tomatoes are in the summer. xxGloria

    Tasty so good,enjoy!

  6. I finally came by (ok, well, stole really) some great tomatoes and made (and blogged about) your salad! It was fantastic! Thank you for such a yummy, simple recipe!


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