Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simple Summer Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

A favorite simple salad in the summer, featuring garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, red or sweet onion, and dressed in a simple homemade vinegar and olive oil Italian dressing.
A favorite simple salad in the summer, featuring garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, red or sweet onion, and dressed in a simple homemade vinegar and olive oil Italian dressing.

Simple Italian Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

There is seriously nothing to this salad really, but with fresh tomatoes and cukes startin' to come in, it is definitely worth a quick mention. In fact, with this heat here lately salads are perfect for lunch, or even a light dinner when it's just too hot to think about food, but I get bored with just plain old garden salads. So, I've posted some of my favorite salads that utilize some of those fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that you'll be harvesting soon.

Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes just speak to summer, and y'all, those are tomatoes and cucumbers that literally came right out of my garden! I've never had a huge vegetable garden, just a simple patio garden - one where I could walk out the back door and snip off some herbs, or pick a pepper, cucumber or tomato right off the vine. I've tried a wide variety of different vegetables and sometimes I've had great success. Other years the plants have just simply been overcome by the extreme heat in south Mississippi.

The measurements given here are simply suggestions, so definitely start here but change to your own taste after that. I really never measure personally, but just drizzle it over with a good extra virgin olive oil, white, red wine or apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs if I have them or a pinch of dried (Italian seasoning is nice), a bit of sugar, kosher salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, and that's really about it. Sometimes I grate a little fresh Parmesan cheese in. Try this sometime with red onion - it just gives that nice, extra bite - although I won't argue with ya if you use some sweet Vidalias too, because, y'all know that I very often do!

You may, of course, also use your favorite commercially bottled Italian dressing, but a fresh vinaigrette is just so easy. Whisk together a few ingredients and you're done - you control the sugar and salt, no thickeners, additives, high fructose corn syrup, voila!

If you're going with a commercial dressing, my personal favorites are, hands down, Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar or one made from the packets of Good Seasons Italian All Natural dry salad dressing mix - it has a nice blend of flavors and all the seasonings that you need. Add a good quality extra virgin olive oil and some vinegar and total YUM is all I can say!! Sometimes simplicity is the best tasting really.

A pretty presentation of this salad on a platter. Perfect for company!

One of my favorite ways to prepare this salad with fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers is to skip the dressing altogether and let them marinate in their own juices. Cut up cucumbers and place into a colander. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let rest for 30 minutes. Transfer cucumbers to a lidded storage bowl and add tomatoes and onion. Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper; toss and place in fridge to marinate several hours.

I keep some kind of a cucumber salad in the fridge all summer and often, this very one. I just keep freshening the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes until the dressing starts to taste a bit watered down and then I start over. Be sure to check my other simple summer salads - a well-loved Fire 'n Ice Summer Salad, the tangy Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad, Sour Cream & Onion Salad, and it's plain vinegar variation, and Creamed Cucumber and Onions with Mayo are just a few of my other favorites - each just a bit different from the other. I hope that you enjoy them along with my full collection of salads from coleslaw to pasta salad to potato salads. Here's how to make this summertime favorite.

For more of my favorite salad recipes, visit my board on Pinterest!

Posted by on June 11, 2009
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