The tomatoes are finally succumbing to the drought and heat in the garden, so this is the last of them.  And the last of the onions, too.  For this recipe I had to make a few alterations because we have the tiny cherry tomatoes (no, I am not skinning and de-seeding every single one – they are smaller than grapes!).  Also, it is not parsley season, and the dressing calls for parsley, an herb that grows beautifully in the spring, fall and winter, but bolts in the heat.  I substituted basil, which is still growing in abundance.  I also subbed elephant garlic (actually not a garlic, but a kind of shallot) for the shallots, because I still had some from the garden.

At this point my big kids are “sick” of cherry tomatoes, and won’t eat anything that has them in it.  They’ll make an exception for tomato sauce, as long as it’s been milled and you can’t see the cherry tomatoes in it.  Rose helped me assemble this salad, and made the comment, “Wow, this looks good.  Maybe I’ll actually try some.”

“You’re not allowed to,” I said, joking.  “You don’t eat cherry tomatoes, remember?  You said they make you gag.”

“But I want to try this!” she replied. “It’s better than what you usually make.”

So if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

Remove the first skin on five or six large tomatoes, cut into slices, remove the seeds, and arrange them in layers alternating with sliced onions, with salt, pepper, vinegar.  Allow to marinate two hours, remove and drain your tomatoes, and serve them with a vinaigrette.


French tomato salad

 Slice finely together parsley, shallots and onions; add salt, pepper, a spoonful of good vinegar, and two spoonfuls and a half of oil.
Mix well together, serve in the salad bowl or the saucière.


Tomato Salad With Vinaigrette Dressing
5 or 6 large tomatoes (or, in my case, about 2 cups of cherry tomatoes)
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper
vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but wine vinegar or balsamic would be wonderful, and could change the flavor and character of this salad for variety)
1.  Peel the tomatoes – I skipped this step as mentioned above, but an easy way to peel tomatoes is to plunge them into boiling water for just a minute, and then immediately submerge them into cold water.  This loosens the skin and it can be easily peeled off once the tomato is cool enough to handle.  Also slice them open and remove the seeds.  Then cut the peeled and de-seeded tomatoes into slices.
2.  Lay some of the tomato slices on a plate or in a bowl, add onion slices on top, and then salt and pepper and a sprinkle of vinegar.  Repeat until you run out of tomato slices.
3.  Allow to marinate for two hours.  Then drain off the liquid (actually I saved it and used it as vinegar in the dressing – it tasted too good to discard).  I think you are supposed to also take out the onion slices, but they were really good as part of the salad.  The vinegar had taken the bite away, and they were just sweet and onion-y.  Do as you prefer….
4.  Dress with vinaigrette:
For the dressing:
 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or basil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 shallot, chopped fine
salt and pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
Mix all ingredients well.  Serve either on the side, or tossed into the tomato salad.

{My grandmother, Claudia Meraud, was born in Nice, France.   She immigrated to the US after meeting my grandfather while he was stationed there as a US soldier in WW II.  We spent several summers together, just the two of us, living with her sister in Nice.  She passed along to me an old French cookbook titled  title is La Cuisine:  Guide Practique De La Ménagère by R. Blondeau, Chef de Cuisine.  It originally belonged to my great-grandmother, Lucie Thomas, who was a native of St. Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace.

This cookbook was published in the 1930’s, and was written as a practical guide for a household cook before the days of the fridge and the food processor.  The recipes are delicious, practical, and (of course) packed with good traditional nutrition.

I am creating translated versions of these antique recipes, re-written for the modern cook, and tested with home-grown and seasonal food.}

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