Tomato & cucumber salad

Tomato & cucumber salad

Conditello Toscana

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Salads are simple in Tuscany, usually consisting of a collection of the freshest vegetables in season from the orto (allotment) or the market. Panzanella is a tomato and cucumber salad with yesterday’s bread soaked in water then crumbled into a salad dressed with vinegar and oil. However, unless you can get hold of Tuscan-style bread, which bounces back after soaking, it just isn’t the same, so we haven’t included it.

Giancarlo loves quartered tomatoes simply dressed with basil, oil and salt. He will eat them with scrambled eggs in the morning to a steak at night. My favourite way to eat tomatoes is in this salad.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 small red onion, peeled and very finely diced
5 tablespoons best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt
freshly ground black pepper
600g ripe, flavourful tomatoes
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
small handful celery leaves, roughly chopped
handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
15 medium basil leaves, roughly torn
1/2 long cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

Method

  1. Soak the sliced onion in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to mellow the flavour. Whisk the oil and vinegar together in a bowl and season lightly with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cut away and discard the first slice of each tomato where it meets the stem. Cut the remaining flesh into 5 mm- thick slices. There is no need to do this for cherry tomatoes – simply halve them around the equator rather than pole to pole. Drain the onions well in a sieve.
  2. Put a layer of tomatoes onto a serving plate and scatter over a spoonful of celery and onions. Season lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper and a scattering of herbs. Pour over a little dressing. Top with a layer of cucumber and repeat with some more onions, herbs and dressing. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and pour over any leftover dressing. Serve within 1 hour
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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