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Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad
Heirloom varieties are fruits and vegetables that were once cultivated but fell out of favor with large-scale growers because the produce neither shipped nor stored well. Many of them have superior flavor, however, and small-scale farmers have reintroduced the best varieties to farmers markets and greengrocers. Available in a wealth of sizes, flavors and colors, including yellow, orange and zebra striped, heirloom tomatoes are one of the glories of summer. Vendors at farmers markets will often offer you a taste of each type before you make a choice.

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 very ripe heirloom tomatoes, in a variety
      of sizes, shapes and colors
  • 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 green onions, 1⁄4 red onion or 1 shallot,
      chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano, or to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • Sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar, to taste
  • 3 to 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse country bread for serving

Directions:

Slice the tomatoes, capturing their juices in a bowl. Layer the tomatoes on a platter, sprinkling them with the sugar, salt, green onions, garlic, oregano and the captured juices as you arrange them.

Finish with a sprinkling each of balsamic vinegar and sherry vinegar, then drizzle with the olive oil. Let stand until ready to serve, or for up to 2 hours. Accompany with the bread for sopping up the juices. Serves 4.

Variations: Other summery fresh herbs can be used in place of the oregano: 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or 2 to 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Vegetable, by Marlena Spieler (Simon & Schuster, 2002).