no soapy tasting salad for some

Warm weather means outdoor dining. The problem with many dishes for the picnic table is they are mayonnaise-based. Mayonnaise and hot weather are not a good combination. Leaving a dish with mayonnaise out on a picnic table on a hot, summer day is a recipe for disaster.

When the weather heats up, you want to make a dish with a few simple ingredients. This tomato salad is a staple for our summer dinner table. It calls for cilantro. There is no more polarizing ingredient than cilantro. People are either on board with this verdant herb or not.

It turns out if you don’t like cilantro it’s a genetic trait. If you are in the non-cilantro camp this article from The New York Times says the herb tastes like soap to a person.

 The next time someone protests to some cilantro in something you’re making keep this in mind. You wouldn’t want something that tasted like soap. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html 

Click on the link above and read how this herb was disliked by Julia Child.

We are in the camp of people who like cilantro. We have it in salads and salsas to put on grilled meats and vegetables.

This simple tomato salad is made when tomatoes are in season. They are dressed in nothing more than extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Kosher salt. This is another example of when you want to use your good extra virgin olive oil.

Tossed in a bowl with some red onion, and chopped cilantro, it’s a simple salad to add to your hot weather cooking nights. 

There are two steps that make a difference. Slice tomatoes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle them with salt and allow to sit for at least twenty minutes. This draws the juices out of the tomatoes. You want these juices pulled out before adding the oil and vinegar. It adds to the flavor of the salad.

This step is very important. Marinate the onions in the vinegar for 30 minutes. It will mellow the flavor of using raw onion. When the onions are raw they have a much more pungent, raw onion taste. Marinating them makes for a more mellow balance of flavors for the salad.

If you are not a cilantro person, no apologies necessary, simply use basil instead. Have a crusty loaf of bread on hand to soak up the tomato juices, mixed with olive oil and vinegar.

See you tomorrow.

Summer Tomato Salad

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

W4 or 5 plum tomatoes

1 red onion 

a handful of cilantro or basil, chopped

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