Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tomato, Onion & Basil Salad

Yes, I Have Been Known To Consume Vegetables Every So Often!

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so here's one of my favorite salads. It's gotten pretty good reviews whenever I've served it at campouts and picnics, and it travels pretty well. You can keep the ingredients at room temperature until it's time to prepare it, so no need to haul around a cooler.

It's also easy to prepare. I'd gotten absolutely wrecked on some top-grade homegrown marijohoonie on a campout some years back, and still managed to hold my shit together long enough to make this tasty salad to go along with the grilled weenies and the magic brownies.

You'll need:

Roma tomatoes
Red onions
Fresh Basil leaves
Key limes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
black pepper

Big bowl
Cutting board
sharp knife
Citrus squeezer
large measuring cup

Now, the amounts you need depend on how many people you're serving. For a buffet, figure on one tomato per person, and split an onion 4-5 ways. For a dinner salad, maybe two tomatoes per person. For one person pigging out, well, that's kind of up to your internal capacity.

Have yourself a seat, mix a strong drink, set the bowl and the cutting board in front of you, along with the ingredients, and commence to chopping.

First, core the 'maters by holding a paring knife flat against your thumb, about 1" of blade sticking out. Stick your thumb into the core center, then rotate the 'mater into the blade 360 degrees with your other hand, and the core should drop free. If the 'maters are full of seeds, give 'em a bit of a squeeze to de-seed.

Cut the 'maters in half, then quarter the halves. You want big chunks, not a fine dice. Toss 'em in the big bowl.

Next, get your red onion and peel away the papery outer layer. Then, peel away the layer under that. You want to get into the tender part. Half the onion top to bottom, then cut out the woody core from each side. Lay the cut side flat against the cutting board and starting at the core end CAREFULLY slice PAPER-THIN slices. You'll get some short slices and long stringy slices, and that's perfectly OK. This takes a while, so don't rush it. Make yourself another drink. I recommend Bombay Sapphire gin & tonics, with a Key lime squoze in.

Dump the onions in the bowl, and get out the basil leaves. Stack several leaves on top of each other, then roll 'em up like a doobie. Take the knife and slice the roll in very thin strips. You're essentially shredding the basil, or if you want to get fancy, making a chiffonade. Try not to squeeze or bruise the basil in the process. Dump the shred into the big bowl.

Next, slice up a big pile of limes, and squeeze the juice out into the measuring cup. I have a big, heavy aluminum squeezer that I like to use. You might need to strain for seeds after squeezing.

OK, now you get to add the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. How much? It's really up to you. You're making a vinaigrette, but some folks don't like mixing the mellow balsamic with the tangy citrus juice. I like to go light on the oil, and heavy on the lime juice, with just enough balsamic vinegar to add some depth. Pour over the veggies, and mix well.

Add some salt & fresh-ground black pepper, also to taste, and let marinate for half an hour, or until hunger pangs force you to gobble up the salad in a fit of herbivorean frenzy.