LUSH TOMATO SALAD
Antonella DiRosolini and her husband, Giuseppe Cicero, a consultant for the state who works to develop organic agriculture in Sicily, have a small farm not far from Modica, in southeastern Sicily. Among the glories it produces are bushels of juicy tomatoes, which Antonella puts on pizza dough, eats whole like apples, and uses in this delicious salad.
I make this often too, when fresh tomatoes are abundant. At the Dirosolini-Cicero household, it was served as a first course, along with several different versions of the tight-grained Sicilian pane di casa, the typical bakery bread with an alluring cinnamon taste. Guiseppe said that, for him, no meal is complete without bread. I have always held dear the same philosophy, and urge you to adopt it too!
I have added the option of freshly ground black pepper, though Antonella wouldn't use it on her salad. Pepper is generally considered superfluous when basil is present, but for those who are pepper fanatics, go ahead and add a sprinkling!
8 to 10 servings
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1 1/2 pounds not-too-ripe cherry tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
3 pounds large not-too-ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 small onion (4 ounces), sliced paper thin
1/2 cup top-quality capers, preferably preserved in salt
1/2 cup (gently packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 cups (gently packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
|1.||Combine the tomatoes, onion, and capers in a large salad bowl.|
|2.||Mince the parsley and tear the basil leaves into small pieces. If using basil with tiny leaves, this step won't be necessary.|
|3.||Sprinkle the herbs over the tomatoes and capers, then drizzle with the oil and toss gently so that all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Season with salt and, if desired, pepper. Toss again and serve.|
Excerpted from THE SILVER PALATE COOKBOOK copyright © 1982 Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.