Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tomato Salad

There’s a Whole Foods a few blocks from my apartment. I don’t do my main shopping there, but when I’m downtown I like to stop in and browse the aisles. I always leave with something wonderful. The produce department is the first thing I see when I walk through the door, and they always get me there. On Tuesday night they had some gorgeous mini tomatoes positioned strategically next to mounds of basil that were clustered around a sign that said “just picked.” Just picked basil? Tiny cute tomatoes? Well, I’m only human, after all. I got some.

The container I picked up was actually a gourmet tomato medley, and I know that because the package said so. According to the package, these gorgeous green-striped ones are exotic tomatoes, the orange and yellow ones are cocktail and cherry tomatoes, respectively, and the red ones are of two varieties: grape and mini plum.

I knew right away what I wanted to do with these. I’d make a simple tomato and basil salad for myself for lunch the next day, simply dressed with nothing but a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and some salt and pepper. Nothing else. I didn’t want any extraneous ingredients to interfere with the natural beauty of these little guys. And they were so sweet, so delectably juicy, that really nothing else was needed.

Okay, I’m lying. Could you tell? Not about there being nothing more needed to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes—that part was true. But, even so, I couldn’t stop myself from adding a little something extra. After I took the pictures, I added a dollop of mayo to the tomatoes and stirred it in. I couldn’t help myself! And it was so good. The natural juice from the tomatoes thinned out the mayo and the two, together, formed a delicious dressing that was simultaneously fresh and creamy and, oh, so good. But if that’s not what floats your boat, I still recommend picking up some of these tomatoes if you see them, because there are tons of ways to use them. A nice panzanella comes to mind, or some tomato-topped bruschetta. And, really, they’re just so colorful and pretty—what more reason do you need?

26 comments:

Chef Erik said...

Funny how if we eat with our eyes. Your salad looks wonderful. I love usinf veggies with different colours. My favorite has to be blue potatoes. How bout you?

Vicarious Foodie said...

Chef Erik: Would you believe that I've only ever seen blue potatoes in pictures? It's true. My favorite veggies would have to be corn and brussels sprouts. Pretty standard in color, but so delicious.

noble pig said...

What a great salad, perfectly colorful and just perfect for Spring.

Kevin said...

Those tomatoes looks good! They are so vibrant and colourful. I never would have thought to add mayo but it sounds good.

candyce said...

Wow, this is so simple, but it looks delicious! ... and I'm with you - I would have added a bit of mayo too! :)
Love it!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

I was tempted to pinch one tomato....love the colors. I make this often, I just add cubes of Danish feta and chopped mint

Wandering Chopsticks said...

One of my very favorite salads. I add a few drizzles of balsamic vinegar. But then, sometimes I just eat tomatoes like they're apples b/c I love them so much.

Katie said...

Looks amazing! Those purple tomatoes are to die for cute and those yellow tomatoes look so crisp and smooth! That basil makes it irresistible!

Patsyk said...

That salad is so beautiful! I haven't shopped at Whole Foods before, but those tomatoes look like they'd be worth the trip there.

sweetnsavory said...

i am so jealous. the closest whole foods is like 120 miles away! only way i'll get some fresh picked basil is if i grew it myself. :-P

michelle @ TNS said...

best summer salad around. okay, maybe tied with jicama and radish, but still freaking awesome.

i got the same container of tomaters from WF because i couldn't resist the colors! can't wait until heirloom tomato season is really here.

Elle said...

I'm so mad at Whole Foods. It's taking them forever to get to NH. The salad looks fantastic and so fresh!

Deborah said...

Those are some gorgeous tomatoes!!

Parker said...

That looks very pretty.

And yes me too - corn on the cob is my favorite and Icould and do only eat that for dinner when it is in season.

Deborah Dowd said...

I want to grow some of these heirloom tomatoes since they are so sweet, and just perfect for summer salads. You are so lucky to be near a Whole Foods. Right now we have to drive 3 hours to get to one, but one will open soon about an hour from us (meaning we will be spending more money on food and gas!)

giz said...

Love the tomatoes - cute and colourful and combined with the basil - amazing.

Whole Foods is my downfall - once I'm in all I want to do is be locked there for a week.

Lore said...

Great colours! Makes me wanna dig in right away. I'm with you on simple and tasteful.

Lina said...

what a pretty spring salad! I love your photos! I could taste the juicy tomatoes!

Katie said...

I saw these tomatoes at Sam's club today and all I could think about was this salad!

Vicarious Foodie said...

Hi everyone, thanks for your comments!

I didn't realize that Whole Foods locations were on the sparse side. But I'm sure you can find these other places. Wegmans and Trader Joe's come to mind or even, like Katie says, Sam's Club.

Neen said...

Fresh basil, chopped tomatoes... the simplicity of it sounds delicious. How nice to have left winter behind, with all those time consuming soups and stews. Now we just chopped up three ingredients and voila! Yum!

jd said...

Lovely salad!

Isn't it awesome how just a few simple ingredients can make a nearly perfect meal?

Yum!

Ginny said...

Having just walked out of Whole Foods with much more than I planned, I understand...also, why have I not seen your blog earlier? Love it! Will be reading it from now on!

Daziano said...

Lovely colors! And tomatoes and basil: perfection! (sometimes I add a touch of mayo too ;) )

Caviar and Codfish said...

Those tomatoes are just absolutely flippin gorgeous!

Cuisine Heart said...

Those tomatoes look absolutely beautiful! They would also be tasty in a pasta salad. Mmmm.