The Simplest Late Summer Salad

This salad represents the best of late summer. It's simple. It's delicious. And it's incredibly fresh. What more could you ask for on a hot summer's day?

Tomato and cucumber salad

Ever since my first garden tomato turned red a few weeks ago, we've been eating this salad on repeat. And by that I mean several times per week; sometimes for more than one meal per day. 

 

simple summer salad

This salad represents everything perfect about late summer. 

It's fresh. 

It's ready in 5 minutes.

It requires no real recipe. 

tomato and cucumber salad

It lets the summer produce shine. 

It goes with just about any meal on the grill. 

It doesn't require turning on the stove or oven. (Who wants to do that when it's 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity?)

It's delicious. 

Ok, so are you ready to make it?

tomato and cucumber salad

Grab your best tomatoes. Heirloom, cherry, beefsteak, plum, red, yellow, green, orange, purple -- any mix of colors and sizes are good. Extra points for a variety. Now, this is not the time to get sad, anemic grocery store tomatoes. (Is there really ever a time for those?) Go to your farmer's market. Or go to a grocery store that sells local produce.  Or, if you're like me, to your backyard garden. Fresh and local is key here or this salad won't live up to your expectations. Cut them into large bite-sized pieces

summer tomato salad

Get a cucumber or two. Long and skinny, fat and round, it all works. Honestly, the funkier shaped the better. Because, why not? Same rule as the tomatoes: try to find something from a local farm. Please, nothing wrapped in plastic. Not here. Slice 'em extra thin. 

summer vegetables

Slice up a bit of red onion. Extra thin. 

Choose your fresh herbs. I like basil, parsley, dill, and chives. I've also thrown mint in on occasion. Really, almost anything fresh goes. 

Toss it all together. Drizzle some really good quality olive oil (Not your sautéing oil. Take out the good stuff) and a little white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar). Then add a pinch of flaky sea salt. 

Are you getting the hint that it's about quality ingredients here?

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Toss again. Eat. 

Really, that's it. Could it be any simpler? 

The Simplest Late Summer Salad

These amounts are estimates. Don't take them too seriously. Use what you have and season with herbs and the dressing, to taste. Start with a light handed pour and then add more if needed -- you don't need much dressing here.

Serves: 4

Prep time:

Ingredients
  • About 2 cups diced mixed tomatoes (any variety)
  • About 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 of a large red onion, thinly sliced
  • A handful of mixed herbs such as basil, parsely, dill, chives, mint, roughly chopped
  • A large drizzle of good quality olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp (to taste) white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Course sea salt, about 1/2 tsp
  • Fresly ground pepper (optional)

Instructions:
  1. Place diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and herbs in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Add sea salt and ground pepper (optional). Toss together and serve. Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator for 1 day.

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