Summer Tomatoes, Fresh Herb Leaves, And Barely Pickled Red Onion

Photo: Kyle Books

When summer tomatoes finally arrive, I keep a bowl of mixed varieties at the ready; they seem to make their way into nearly every meal of the day. Any type of good fresh tomato works well in this salad, and the same geos for the cuke, but when you can, use a mix of heirloom tomatoes–liek teardrop, cherry, grape, or cocktail–and try an unusual cucumber–like the crunchy Armenian, the pale green, mild-tasting Persian, ir sweet, yellow lemon varieties–any of which might be found at a farmers’ market or large supermarket.

Serves 4 to 6


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  • 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt
  • 21/2 pounds mixed tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1 medium cucumber, or 2 to 3 Persian or lemon cucumbers, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup loosely packed
  • combination of mint, basil and/or tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Flaky coarse sea salt
  • Very good extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling


1. In a small bowl, toss together the onion, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drain, discarding the vinegar.

2. In a large serving bowl, arrange the tomatoes and cucumber. Scatter the marinated onion, herb leaves and chives over the salad. Crush several generous pinches of flaky coarse sea salt over the top then drizzle generously with oil.

to barely pickle:

Sliced very thin, the red onions in this salad are pickled ever so slightly in a little vinegar and salt. There’s just enough acid to tone down the bite of the onion, which some people find too harsh, without adding a strong vinegar flavor or dressing. This allows the tomatoes to provide their own acidity and juicy, bright flavors, which need neither introduction nor distraction.

Credit: Kyle Books

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