Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thomas' tomato salad

Every summer my mom would pack us three kids into the white Ford Aerostar. We'd drive eight hours south before arriving in a very small town in Georgia to visit her side of the family. My grandparents were divorced and lived 40 minutes apart, so we spent half of the week with each of them.

His name was Thomas, but to us he was Grandaddy. A jovial man with a heart of gold. He'd whip up amazing farm-to-table meals before I even understood what that meant. There would be a low country boil thrown out onto newspaper-covered picnic tables and freshly-caught catfish shaken in paper bags of cornmeal and flour before throwing into the deep fryer. The man could cook.

One of my favorite things he would make was probably the simplest. He would cut ripe tomatoes from the garden into wedges, cover with Italian dressing, and set aside to marinate on the lazy susan in the middle of the dining table. Oh, how I loved those tomatoes.
Slowly tomatoes are starting to appear at the farmers market. I've been anticipating this moment for months. Last weekend I decided to make my Grandaddy's tomatoes for an afternoon snack, but instead of store-bought Italian dressing, I made my own vinaigrette. I think he would approve.

Thomas' tomato salad 
Serves one
1 large local ripe tomato, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
pinch of sea salt & cracked pepper
1/4 tsp oregano, dried
1 tbsp fresh dill
2 basil leaves, chiffonade

Put the tomato into a small bowl. Mix the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano. Pour over the tomatoes and sprinkle with dill and basil.

I prefer the tomatoes at room temperature, so I eat them immediately. A few goat cheese crumbles wouldn't hurt either.


Sarah @ Two Blue Lemons said...

A Ford Aerostar!!! I thought we were the only family in American driving that car. Ours was first red then we painted it blue for some reason. I thought snakes were in the third row :)

Ps. Looks delicious!

shanna said...

"amazing farm-to-table meals before I even understood what that meant" - love this. sounds just like how my grandma would cook for us, with tomatoes fresh from her garden, before it was cool and when I still craved Pizza Hut. miss her.

Gabriella said...

This looks delectable! I must try this sometime soon, the perfect summer salad!


Eileen said...

YES. This is almost exactly what I plan to do when the first real summer tomatoes start rolling in. First just tomatoes with salt--then tomatoes with salt, pepper, herbs, and maybe a touch of olive oil. It's always by far the highlight of my summer--at least in food form. :)

Christa said...

You absolutely can't go wrong with fresh, warm tomato salad. Your granddaddy would be proud. :)

Ashlae said...

I love tomato salads. And since I scored some fresh dill and juicy tomatoes at the farmer's market today, this salad is going to be in my very near future. Like, lunch tomorrow.

PS - my dad hauled us kids around in a teal Aerostar. OH THE HORROR.

la domestique said...

What a wonderful memory! So glad you shared...the salad is perfect.

Natalie said...

Yummy! Always the simple things that are the most amazing. x

Mike said...

I love to take tomatoes and make ketchup out of them.