Tomato and Basil Salad with Cucumbers, Pickled Onions, and Eggs

Tomato and Basil Salad with Cucumbers, Pickled Onions, and Eggs (Serves 1 or 2)

My friends at Cherith Farms, Phil and Mary Busman, delivered a big basket of heirloom tomatoes on Saturday. Red ones, yellow ones, brown ones, in various shapes and sizes. Mary told me what every foodie probably already knew, but I did not – refrigerating tomatoes destroys their taste. Now I know why all the heirloom tomatoes I ever bought tasted so ordinary! I destroyed their specialness by chilling them before eating. These tomatoes, however, stored on my kitchen island, taste exquisite. Mary told me “you have to have” basil with tomatoes, so I got myself some basil and made Tomato and Basil Salad. Tomato is the main ingredient and with the sweet, succulent varieties I scored, it really worked.

Prep and cook time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredient list:

2 heirloom tomatos
1 small handful of fresh basil leaves
1 sweet yellow or red onion
1 cucumber
4 eggs
1 lemon
Apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Garlic powder

Directions: Place eggs in a pan in cold water. Cover pan and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Turn off heat. Leaving pan covered; let eggs sit in hot water for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, transfer eggs to a cold water bath. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl. Chop cucumber into bite-sized pieces and add to blow. Add a big handful of picked onion (see recipe below). Add salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste. Add the juice of one lemon. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients. Drizzle olive oil over the salad. Remove shells from eggs and slice into quarters. Add eggs to salad. Transfer to serving bowls and eat.

How to Pickle Onions

Peel and chop a few sweet onions into half moon slices. Place in an airtight container and cover with apple cider vinegar. Let soak in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and preferably overnight. That’s it. Sometimes I add salt and garlic powder and sometimes I add a glug or two of apple cider to cut the acid a bit, but when using pickled onions in other dishes, I find apple cider vinegar does the job alone just fine.

Notes: I ate the whole salad myself, but am an especially big eater. This preparation could satisfy two people.

Phil and Mary Busman of Cherith Farms in Alpharetta, Georgia raise chickens like their great grandparents did – scratching for bugs and worms in the pasture. Vegetarian hens are responsible for many store bought eggs, but if you give chickens a choice between a kernel of corn and a worm, chickens choose worms. I would not eat a worm myself, but appreciate the rich yolks in the eggs of chickens that do.

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