Sweet and juicy Juliet and Sun Gold tomatoes continue to ripen on our two tomato plants. Huge carrots and fresh basil surround them. And local summer squash and zucchini can still be found at the local market. Until we get a freeze, here’s a tasty Late Summer Salad that incorporates the last of this summer’s garden vegetables. Tossing everything with a fresh Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette makes this healthy late summer salad (and most every salad) especially delicious.
I so enjoy my spiralizer. Both its compact design and the delightful noodles it effortlessly produces. My Spiralizer comes with 4 blades. The thinnest blade makes angel hair spirals out of crisp carrots. The “shredder blade” is better for tender summer squash, cutting it into slightly wider, spaghetti-like spiral strands.
My months at London’s Cordon Bleu school taught me the finer points of cooking, including the simple task of peeling tomatoes. A quick dip in boiling water followed by an immersion in ice water keeps the tomatoes uncooked and the peeling easy. (At the Cordon Bleu we turned the peeled tomatoes upside down and cut the tops into “stars.” We then replaced the tomato insides with chicken salad. We served the tomato stars on a bed of lettuce. Pretty fancy 😉
So perhaps you can understand my tearful reaction to a cooking show I watched in 1971 upon my return to California. In that episode the chef taught everyone how to peel tomatoes, kind of. He put the tomatoes in boiling water during the first five minutes of the show. He took them out of the water towards the end of the 30 minute show. With a smile of accomplishment, he lifted a tomato from the water to show the peel falling away. However, he didn’t say that his “technique” created mushy and overcooked peeled tomatoes.
So overwhelmed by the poor technique I started to cry. “How could he do this to people?”
Here’s a better way to peel tomatoes in 4 easy steps:
- Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to remove ripe tomatoes after 7 seconds. Remove less ripe tomatoes after 10 seconds. Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice water.
- Once the tomatoes have cooled, remove them from the water. Use a paring knife to peel away the skin. Proceed with your recipe. (This picture shows the peeled tomatoes squeezed to release their seeds.)
Lots of Possibilities
Change your Late Summer Salad up a bit. So many possibilities. Consider adding diced avocado, cooked quinoa or brown rice, black beans or garbanzos, sliced cucumber or radishes, leaves of fresh arugula, etc.
A spiralizer, a julienne peeler and a mandoline all make quick work of turning vegetables into oodles of noodles. Medium-sized zucchini and summer squash are the easiest to spiralize, as are larger-sized carrots. The thickest, straightest end of the carrots spiralizes the easiest and best.
Change things up a bit by adding diced avocado, cooked quinoa or brown rice, black beans or garbanzos, sliced cucumber or radishes, leaves of fresh arugula, etc. Late Summer Salad also makes great leftovers, staying crisp and tasty.
Thank you, Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen for inspiring this well-flavored and colorful
Late Summer salad.
Serves 4 as an entrée or 8 as a side salad Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
3 ½ ounces plum or other tomatoes
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped garlic
1 ½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
8 twists freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tablespoons coarsely chopped, packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ pounds zucchini and yellow squash (6 ½ cups spiralized)
5 ounces carrots (2 ½ cups spiralized)
1 ¼ cups cherry or other small tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, quartered
Additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon roasted pumpkin seeds
- Peel, core and seed the tomato(es). Place them with the remaining dressing ingredients into a container with tall sides.
- Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to purée and emulsify the Tomato Basil Vinaigrette.
- Trim the ends off the zucchini and yellow squash. Spiralize them using the “shredder” blade. Cut the squash noodles with scissors into 3 to 4 inch lengths. Place them into a large bowl.
- Trim the root end of the carrots. Use the angel hair blade to spiralize them. Cut them into 3 to 4-inch lengths. Add them to the bowl with the squash.
- Add the halved tomatoes, scallions, feta, Kalamatas and pumpkin seeds to the noodles. Toss with the dressing. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.