Thursday, July 30, 2009

my mother's tomato salad

My mom had this habit of serving very simple side dishes. For years and years she would just go up to the garden in the summer, pick a ripe tomato, slice it, and serve it plain as a side dish to whatever else we were eating. "Salad" was often just fresh lettuce torn up in a bowl. Sometimes we would have grapes on the table and that would be the side dish.

At some point she started making a fancier tomato salad side dish in the summertime. I had forgotten about this salad, but my friend Nick reminded me of it and asked for me to look for it while I was home recently. I found a dog-eared, photocopied magazine article stuck in Mom's copy of the Moosewood Cookbook. There is no identification on the recipe for me to credit either the publication or author. The recipe is titled "my secret tomato salad", but to me it's my mother's tomato salad.

6 ripe medium tomatoes
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons each chopped fresh tarragon, basil, and parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water, peel, and thinly slice. Place in a bowl with onion.

In a small bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Pour over the tomatoes; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Serve with warm French rolls or Italian bread. Makes 4 - 6 servings.


  1. I have this exact same recipe, exact same title! I cut it out of the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper back in the mid-80's. It came with an explanation that the unnamed recipe creator met her husband in Paris "over 30 years ago" and he decided to propose to her right after tasting her tomato salad. This is my family's all time favorite vegetable salad recipe. So glad that you enjoy it, too! Anita from Wisconsin

  2. Anita - Thank you for reading my blog and for your comment! That is the same story from the top of this recipe, so it is indeed the same one! I'm happy to see that my mom was not the only one who held onto this gem.

    I appreciate your comments!

  3. The Moosewood Cookbook (1977) was by Molly Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood collective in Ithaca, New York. It's probably the best-selling vegetarian cook-book of all time. See here for more information.