For about eight months now, Michael Symon’s cookbook, Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen, has seemed to stare at me from its place on my bookshelf.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great cookbook — filled with recipes, techniques and photos that instantly draw you in.
It’s just that it is a little, well, intimidating to me. You see, he has recipes of all kinds of dishes that I’ve never eaten in restaurants, much less cooked and at ate home.
That’s not to say I don’t want to try things such as Braised Veal Shank with Gremolata or Salmon Poached in Court Bouillon. I knew as soon as I took that book to the register I was leaping over the boundary of my comfort zone right into Symon’s world.
I mean, for god’s sake, he’s an Iron Chef.
So I thought I’d ease myself in with something a little more simple, more familiar.
If you take a look, your garden or farmer’s market just might be bursting with ripe, beautiful tomatoes.
If you’re lucky, maybe even funny shaped, rainbow-colored heirloom tomatoes.
In any case, what to do with summer’s bounty? Symon’s recipe for Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Dill and Feta is the perfect solution to tomato abundance.
The sweet tomatoes, salty feta and olives and crisp cucumbers make for the perfect no-cook summer meal, or as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish.
It’s also good to look at. Quite the showstopper for your next outdoor dinner party…or even dinner for two.
Michael Symon’s Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Dill and Feta
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, shaved or cut paper thin and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1 pound heirloom tomatoes of assorted sizes and colors, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup crumbled barrel-aged feta
Combine the garlic, a pinch of salt, a grinding of pepper and the vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Drain the onion, pat dry and add to the bowl along with the bell pepper, cucumber and olives. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the dill, mint, tomatoes and feta and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon onto a large platter and serve immediately.