Seasonal Flavors: Seasonal Tomato Salad

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Seasonal Tomato Salad. Photo: Denise Zito.

You probably don’t need to read the Seasonal Flavors column in the Crozet Gazette to know that it is tomato season and that you should be taking advantage of the beautiful tomatoes in your garden, the local groceries, the farm stands and the Farmers Markets. So far, I’ve made marinara, salsa, Bloody Mary mix, mixed salad, Caprese salad, creamy tomato soup, tomato and mayo sandwiches, tomato pie, and open-faced grilled tomato sandwiches. But of course, more simply, fresh tomatoes are delicious with just a bit of light dressing and herbs. And it’s the herbs that I want to talk about here.

Years ago, my friend Jill gifted me a set of herb scissors. Having never seen them, I thought ‘whaaaat?’ I thanked her, put them in the drawer and forgot about them—until tomato season. After I used these five bladed scissors once, I now use them nearly every day and especially during tomato season.

There are three reasons I urge you to get a pair of herb shears:

First, they get the job done quickly. When cutting up herbs, you can spend time with a knife, or your regular kitchen shears, tear the herbs with your fingers, or you can use the herb shears and finish the job in three or four swipes. Now that Covid is abating a bit, my dinner table is full of guests again, and I need to be efficient when cooking for these groups.

Second, using herb shears creates a lot of surface area, and when you create all those slivers, you release a lot of oils which are both fragrant and tasty.

Third, herb scissors allow you to make beautiful, uniform cuts so the chives and the basil look lovely on the plate. The way food looks contributes mightily to your enjoyment.

So, I hope you will get yourself a pair, and I urge you to shop local. The Happy Cook in Charlottesville carries herb scissors for $11.95 (note: no personal benefit from this recommendation, I am simply advocating for local business support.) 

Seasonal Tomato Salad

  • A variety of colorful, fresh tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic or wine vinegar
  • Fresh sweet basil
  • Salt and pepper 

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