AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: The First Tomato (Recipe: Israeli Salad) DATE: 7/24/2009 09:06:00 AM ----- BODY:
Some people mark the start of summer at Memorial Day, others on June 21st. For me, summer officially begins with the first tomato from the garden.

Though the first tomato appeared in early June, the miserable rains and cool weather that followed thwarted any chance of an early July first harvest. A few weeks off “schedule,” I’m picking the first tomato.

Of course, one tomato does not make a salad, much less a meal. Thankfully, on the same day the first cucumber is large enough to pick also.

With a few scallions and fresh dill, I have all the fixings for a favorite summertime salad, and enough to serve as a side for dinner.

Israeli Salad
In Israel, this salad of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers is usually served at breakfast with smoked, cured or pickled fish. It’s also a great condiment for falafel, or tossed with Israeli Cous Cous for a refreshing side salad. This recipe is also featured in Even’ Star Organic Farm’s Summer Cookbook.

2 of your favorite heirloom tomatoes
1 small cucumbers
3 scallions
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon fresh dill or lemon basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Toss with salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes

2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop cucumbers (unpeeled).

3. Drain excess liquid from tomatoes. Toss with remaining ingredients.

4. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, lemon and/or olive oil.

Garden to Table: 10 minutes

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Katie DATE:7/24/2009 03:43:00 PM I like the idea for the salad, and I definitely agree that summer hasn't arrived until the tomatoes do. Mine are nowhere near ripe (but are very cute!) due to the cold weather we've had for the last few months. I'm trying to be patient, but at this rate I may not get any until the leaves start changing! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:7/24/2009 06:16:00 PM I love the "garden to table" metric!

There'a a lone tomato haning onto one of my plants, but with this weather I doubt it'll ever ripen. I do have a cuke, though, and some if I can snag a local tomato this weekend, this salad will be on the menu! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:7/24/2009 10:29:00 PM You've got your first tomatoes! How wonderful - I can't wait! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:7/25/2009 10:43:00 AM I love breakfast salads like this and from the garden...even better. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger adele DATE:7/26/2009 04:32:00 AM How have I never seen this salad before? I love the combination of tomatoes and dill... I am definitely trying this once I'm back in the Northern Hemisphere! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:7/28/2009 11:07:00 PM I have tomatoes, but not a single ripe one yet. This summer has been tough on the garden here in RI; your little gem of a garden is way ahead of mine. The salad looks wonderful, and nothing tastes better than the first salad of the year. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger giz DATE:7/29/2009 08:48:00 AM I so remember this salad as breakfast fare on the kibbutz and still make it to this day - such a fresh salad. ----- --------