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Lazy Tomato Salad

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One hot summer day I felt lazy to peel, slice, and mix. That's how this minimalistic tomato salad was born. "Is that all? - asked Alex when he saw a shallow dish. - I will not eat this". That was the verdict. But when we tried it, we were amazed how sweetness of tomato, tanginess of lemon, heat of cayenne, and softness of olive oil teased and satisfied our palates in a delightful blend.

What you need:
Campari tomatoes (8-10 will make 2 good portions)
Garlic, minced (6 cloves)
Best quality olive oil (3-4 tbsp)
1/2 lemon juice
Cayenne pepper
Coarse salt

Slice tomatoes, approximately 5 slices for each tomato, and spread them in a thin overlapping layer in a shallow dish.
Squeeze lemon over tomatoes. Mix garlic with oil and cayenne, and pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt. That's it!

Tomato variety is what makes this salad. The trick is to use sweet and very ripe tomatoes. Campari is now widely available in stores. We experimented with many kinds of tomatoes for this salad, nothing works like this one, the tastiest of course being those from your local organic farm.
The juice of tomato mixed with lemon, cayenne, and oil calls for good artisan bread or simple unspiced croutons. To avoid waste in my kitchen (Jacques Pepin will approve), I use bread leftovers to make simple croutons, and have them at hand. Just cube the bread (small 0.5-inch cubes), and dry it in your oven on low heat. It makes a nice addition to many soups, too.
Crunchy fresh bread dipped in this salad's juices is such an indulgence! And all this is so-o-o simple...

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