I say tomAto you say tomAHto!

Before you call the whole thing off, go to the farmer’s market first! There is an exciting world of tomatoes lately!  Heirloom ones, green ones, big juicy red ones, little itty bitty orange ones… The price is the best part of it. You don’t have to pay that hefty $3 per pound at the grocery store for a nice looking (but often not so tasty) tomato. There is always this dilemma when I go to the grocery store: I love tomatoes and eat them with every salad, sandwich and breakfast (when I am not eating oatmeal for breakfast of course!). I can buy a lot of them for a cheaper price and sacrifice the taste… or I can buy a couple of expensive ones, hoping that they are tasty, and only eat a slice or two each time.

But last weekend, I did not have to choose between cost and taste. I saw tomatoes as low as 49cents per pound at one stand at the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market… And they all looked  soo delicious! So, when I got back home several hours later, I was loaded up on tomatoes. I do not do any canning, do not plan on making pasta sauce and saving it for winter. So I have no idea what the heck I was thinking, I guess I got carried away and forgot that we have only 2 people in our household.

This weekend, I still had some tomatoes that were starting to ripen (thanks to my friend Debi, who stopped me from buying all nice red ones and picked some not-so-ripe-but-perfect-in-a-week ones for me), so I decided to make two different tomato salads to go with our weekly grilled fish meal. It is not the topic of this post, but if you like grilling whole fish, give Pompano a try… Awesome, fatty, meaty fish!

The tomato-avocado salad is something I created on a whim with the veggies I had one night. Chili powder, cumin and cilantro worked very well together so we made it a couple more times as a regular salad. The other salad, called Shepherd’s Salad (also called Choban Salad after the Turkish: Çoban Salatası), is a very common one in Turkey, mostly served with grilled meat. You can add the spices and herbs to taste as you like or add feta cheese& Cubanelle sweet peppers in Shepherd’s salad. For both salads, I assemble everything, pour the dressing, and refrigerate 1 hour before I serve it. If you like some feta cheese on your salad, add it right before serving.

Tomato-Avocado Salad(makes approximately 2 – 2.5 cups)

  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped  green onion
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed chopped cilantro

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Shepherd’s Salad (makes approximately 3 – 3.5 cups)

  • 2.5 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of diced cucumber (if it has large seeds, get rid of the seeds before dicing)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup of diced red onions
  • 1 cup firmly packed chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup of toasted, finely chopped walnuts

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses  (This is a reduction of pomegranate juice. It is used in Turkish cuisine in place of lemon juice from time to time. It has a tart flavor and thick consistency—see the picture below. Whisk it well with the olive oil before pouring it on the salad. You can substitute lemon juice for the dressing.)
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of dried crushed mint

2 Comments:

  1. by Sheri Richards
    5:10 pm
    Mar 5, 2011

    I would be tempted to throw some black beans in that yummy Tomato-Avacado Salad and a few dashes of hot sauce. Sounds like a meal to me!

  2. by Ilke
    6:07 pm
    Mar 5, 2011

    That is right, Sheri, good idea with the black beans. Loved your site with theme-dinner parties!

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