As I confessed/complained before, tomatoes are a difficult crop for us. One of the vegetables we like the most, yet one of the most difficult to grow. This year I decided to stick with early bush types, in the hope of getting a crop before the inevitable onset of blight. In the beginning of March, I sowed “Ida Gold” and “Gruschovka” on the windowsill, the first variety a smallish yellow tomato, the other red with normal sized red fruits.
I planted them out at the end of May, staked, mulched with straw, watered and waited. The summer was long coming this year and the tomatoes took their time. 2 days before we left on vacation, the first “Ida Gold” turned yellow.
When we came back, the plants were heavy with fruits, though already showing signs of sickness. Are tomatoes worth the trouble? Yes, because the tomatoes from our garden are the only tomatoes I can get that really taste like tomatoes. Last week I bought some organic Dutch tomatoes and they were as watery and bland as anything grown in the hothouse in February. If you live in a place where tomato thrive, well, you’re lucky. Our “real” tomato season is short and every tomato recipe is chosen carefully. This salad was a product of logic deduction: tomatoes need salt, feta is salty, let’s make a feta dressing. And lets throw in basil, too, always the right thing to do where tomatoes are concerned. The result is a beautifully simple recipe that works because the ingredients are just so right for each other. And it shows our precious tomatoes off to best advantage.
Tomato salad with feta basil dressing
750 g (1,5 pounds) tomatoes (some cherry, some larger, different colors if possible)
150 g (5 ounces) feta cheese
4 – 6 tbsp buttermilk (or yogurt)
a small bunch of basil (about 10 sprigs)
fresh ground pepper
1 spring onion, green part only, sliced thinly
Cut cherry tomatoes in half and cut larger tomatoes in thick slices. Arrange tomatoes on a large plate. For the dressing, mix feta cheese with basil and 4 tablespoons buttermilk. Add more buttermilk if necessary to reach the right consistency, i.e. thick but pouring. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Right before serving, pour the dressing over the tomatoes and sprinkle over the spring onion.