Summer brings us so many amazing things like beach vacations, warm weather, picnics, the Fourth of July, and of course the most important of all of these things are definitely tomatoes! It is that special time of year when these little guys show up at your local farmer’s market with all of the delicious varieties you could possibly dream of! An abundance of tomatoes is never a bad predicament to find yourself in because this is the one time of year that the tomatoes just taste exactly how they should! In my opinion, you should rush out and find as many fresh, juicy tomatoes that you can possibly get your hands on. While you are at it, why not plant a couple of tomato plants for your own back yard so you can always have your own personal stash?
There are countless ways that you prepare tomatoes, but I find that during this time of year when the tomatoes are the tastiest (right off of the vine) all you really need to do is marinate the tomatoes a little bit while you are preparing everything else for your meal. This simple process is an amazing little trick to keep up your sleeve this summer. Utilizing other fresh ingredients from around your garden or from the store will just enhance the taste of this summer treat. Tomatoes are also an extremely healthy addition to your daily diet because of the incredible compounds found within. They are full of vitamin A and many folates that are very beneficial for your ocular health.
Marinated Tomatoes with Feta, Red Onions, Cucumbers, Chili Oil and Fresh Mint
- 3 quarts heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 large English cucumber, lightly peeled, halved and sliced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, plus extra for oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Feta cheese, lightly crumbled
- Mint leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Place halved cherry tomatoes into a large bowl. Mince garlic, chop basil and place into bowl along with tomatoes. Add chili flakes, red wine vinegar, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir lightly and marinate for at least 30 or more minutes.
- Make three stripes with a vegetable peeler along the length of English cucumber. Cut cucumber in half and make 1/4″ slices. Thinly slice red onion. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat one cup of olive oil. Add a very large pinch of red chili flakes and allow to steep like tea. Eventually the oil will turn a reddish tint. Add garlic and fresh basil and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain solids through a colander and pour oil into a small jar.
- Toss a handful of tomatoes into another smaller bowl along with a small amount of cucumber, red onion and a handful of mint to assemble your salad. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with infused oil and a healthy crumble of feta cheese. Enjoy!