Today I have for you a garlic free recipe for my favourite Tomato and Olive Salad.
If it wasn’t for garlic, this blog would be called Tomato Matters. No kidding. I have tomatoes pretty much every day, and although my partner isn’t the biggest fan, he has to eat them at least every other day too, because I will usually find a way to put them in something we eat together.
So, yes, he does moan a bit, but I am the main cook in the house and it’s best to keep me tomato happy! My ultimate tomato and olive salad is a combination of sweet and sour, fresh, juicy and above all delicious.
Did I just hear: “Tomato and olive salad? No big deal!”
I would answer: “Massive deal!” It must have been my late father, who LOVED the Polish style tomato soup with pasta, and passed the tomato love over to me in the genes. Everything in the look and smell of tomatoes is super attractive to me and I am very fussy about them.
For example, I rarely order a tomato salad or a “tomato with something salad” in a restaurant I don’t know. It is too common to serve them under ripe. Seriously, I am sometimes lost for words. It is such an insult to a tomato!
Olives are their own star in the tomato and olive salad. They add that funky zing that plays with the sweetness of the tomatoes I find very difficult to ignore or resist. There isn’t really much you can do about the olives as they are preserved, certainly ready to eat and can’t really be influenced.
With the tomatoes – that’s a different story as in this recipe they come fresh. Use healthy, plump tomatoes, with the skin intact and no bruising. Make sure that they are ready to be eaten, fresh, happy, juicy and at room temperature.
This is the second thing that kills it for me when it comes to tomatoes in a restaurant. They tend to be served so cold you can really say what they taste of… Anyway, the bottom line is: pay attention to your tomatoes before you make and serve any tomato salad.
3 points about the Tomato and Olive Salad
I just love that tomato flavour punch you get in the mouth after biting on an olive in this salad. The flavour is just magical! So to get it all right:
- Pick the loveliest, firmest and plumpest olives to make your tomato and olive salad perfect. It is always worth asking if you can try them before buying so you know the level of firmness, acidity, saltiness and bitterness you’re dealing with!
- Use two or three types of tomatoes to make your salad look interesting and colourful. I don’t want to be too dogmatic about it, but although they are all called tomatoes, they all are a bit different from each other. In my tomato and olive salad recipe I like to use Heirloom, Plum, Grape Vine or Cherry tomatoes. These are my favorite ones. They are sweet, juicy and rich enough to take on the intensity of the olives when combined in the salad, where they really complement each other beautifully.
- Make sure your toms are at room temperature – refrigerating any tomato kills the flavour. Strange thing, but true. (If you buy toms that are not fully ripened leave them on the counter, close to a window and they’ll come to their best in a few days time.) Slice them to bite size pieces and sprinkle a bit of salt over before mixing them with other ingredients.
- 400g (2.3 cups) assorted, flavour rich tomatoes like Heirloom, Plum, Grape Vine or Cherry
- 200g (1 cup) assorted, pitted olives (if stuffed with feta cheese use only 100g)
- 2 tablespoons spring onion - chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro - chopped
- 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 1 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper - freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup chopped bell pepper
- Halve your tomatoes, or slice to a bite size pieces, sprinkle with salt and leave for 10 minutes to rest.
- In a separate bowl, whisk olive oil with pepper and vinegar, add olives (and optional peppers). Pour the dressing and olives over the tomatoes, sprinkle spring onions and parsley and gently mix it all together. Serve at room temperature and store any leftovers refrigerated (Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving).