Tomatoes from the Store Go Tasty
- 4 tomatoes, sliced
- 3 T. sweet red onions, diced
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1-3 T. cilantro, chopped
- 1/8 C. cider apple vinegar
- 1/8 C olive oil
- 1-2 t. sugar, less or more depends on how sweet the tomato is
- 1 t. kosher salt, more or less to taste
- 1-2 t. salt replacement herbs, purchased from store
- Wash and cut the tomatoes into halves. VERY GENTLY squeeze out excess water from the tomatoes and discard this excess water from the tomatoes. Chop the red onion, garlic, and cilantro and add the vinegar, olive oil, and sugar, salt and herbal mixture. Gently mix. Chill in refrigerator and serve on salad greens.
- NOTE: This is also exellent on rice and meats.
A bit about this Tasty Tomato Dish
Here is a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)dish that lifts the store purchased tomato to flavorful heights while giving it a Southwestern twist. Also, most store purchased tomatoes need a bit of help to overcome their deficiency of NOT being a fresh garden tomato.
There is more to just slicing and serving a tomato. With very few culinary additions, the lowly tomato can become a flavor star.
Many people in the Midwestern USA put either sugar or salt on their tomatoes when served the tomato as plain sliced side dish. There is more to food combining than basic salt, sugar or pepper on the tomato!
My Mom, as I bet your Mom did, had certain combinations of foods that she cooked and served together. To this day if you mention fried chicken (mashed potatoes and corn) or pork chops (crispy fried American style potatoes and peas), and other dinner selections my mind KNOWS not only the side dishes BUT the day they were traditionally served on!
Pairing foods and tastes has a long tradition. Nearly every culture matches certain flavors, dishes, and foods together. Pairings may be based on the seasonality of the foods or contrasting and coordinating tastes, or attractiveness to the eye.
When I worked in China we often ate with a young Chinese lady who was considered excellent at ordering items from a Chinese menu that complemented each other. She would ask you what you ‘had a taste for’ that night and then build an entire meal around your first choice. Tomatoes were considered a dessert food to her! She would often order the tomato dish to be served at the end of the meal as a dessert.
The lowly tomato was introduced to Europe from South America. Originally, Europeans called the tomato a ‘love apple’ and thought they were poisonous.
Tomatoes are a highlight in cookery here in the Southwest. However, many Southwestern red sauces are from the red chilé pepper but that is a digression from the recipe at hand! (Please read more of my Hub blogs about the love of chilé and their recipes!)
Tomatoes are very healthy for your body. Here is what one of my favorite doctor/author, Dr. Andrew Weil has to say about the fruit tomato:
Food as Medicine
Tomatoes are an extremely rich source of the powerful antioxidant lycopene; when cooked and combined with a healthy fat, as the tomatoes are in this recipe, lycopene is made even more bioavailable. However, the preventive effects of tomatoes against prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease are not due solely to lycopene; studies show that it is the "synergy" of nutrients in tomatoes that give them their health-promoting properties. ~from Dr. Andrew Weil’s website at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00275/ciabotta-southern-italian-stew.html
This particular tomato dish is being used as a garnish with a Mizithra Cheese Pasta dish that has a light garlic olive oil base. The fresh tomato taste is an excellent contrast to the deceptively rich and lush taste of the Mizithra Cheese Pasta Dish. Please see the pasta recipe too!
You may also change out the fresh herb of cilantro and use parsley instead. This changes the whole character of the dish. I like to use the parsley tomato dish as a relish on cooked rice. It makes a nice coupling with a salmon steak too.
Note on cilantro: Fresh cilantro is an acquired taste for some people. If you have never used this fresh herb before please taste test it. Many people think it has a soapy taste. If you are one of those people then switch to parsley!
If you change the herb to basil you are heading straight into Bruschetta territory!
So, enjoy this recipe and feel free to tweak it with other herbs! It would make a great garnish for meat too!