Jamie Oliver’s Tomato Salad

Tomatoes are proliferating the farmer’s markets and particularly my CSA these last few weeks. I have received over 20 pounds of tomatoes in the last month. No Joke.

In my weekly CSA, there has been a regular sort of three different tomatoes:

The Roma tomatoes are a meaty, egg- or pear-shaped tomato that has few seeds and is a good canning and sauce tomato. I did not use those for this salad, but just made a tomato sauce and stored it in the fridge for later use. The orange tomatoes, similar looking to cherry tomatoes taste like starburst candy that just explodes with natural sweetness in your mouth. The Beefsteak tomatoes are the largest from the variety, hence the name. Typically used in sandwiches because of their large slices. Since I am not a sandwich eater, I used the beefsteak tomatoes for this salad.

Now this is an incredible tomato salad but there are two things to remember if you want to wow your guests with something so simple. The first is that you should try to get a mixture of different, tasty, local (if possible) tomatoes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Second, the flavor is brought out by salting the tomatoes, so don’t skip this bit. Some people get worried about putting this much salt on their food, but the bulk of it will drip off, leaving you with really beautiful, intensely flavored tomatoes.

If you can get hold of some dried flowering oregano then do, as it has the most heavenly flavor. Feel free to use the dried stuff that you get in a little container, but it can taste a bit like sawdust when compared to the fruity, fragrant flavor you get from the flowering variety. Oregano is also great to grow in the garden. This salad is from Jamie Oliver’s recipe, called “The Mothership Tomato Salad”

  • 2 1/4 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, different shapes and colors

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A good pinch dried oregano
  • Red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped
    1. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, slice some in half, some into quarters and others into uneven chunks. Straightaway this will give you the beginnings of a tomato salad that’s really brave and exciting to look at and eat. Put the tomatoes into a colander and season with a good pinch of sea salt. 
    2. Give them a toss, season again and give a couple more tosses. The salt won’t be drawn into the tomatoes; instead it will draw any excess moisture out, concentrating all the lovely flavors. Leave the tomatoes in the colander on top of a bowl to stand for around 15 minutes, then discard any juice that has come out of them.
    3. Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle over the oregano. Make a dressing using 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, the garlic and the chile. Drizzle the tomatoes with enough dressing to coat everything nicely.
    4. This is a fantastic tomato salad, which is totally delicious to eat on its own. It’s also great served with some balls of mozzarella or some nice, grilled ciabatta bread.


    Storage Facts: Tomatoes should never be refrigerated until they:
    • have been cooked
    • have been cut or put into a raw dish like a salsa
    • are fully ripe and would spoil if left further at room temperature

    Place tomatoes stem end up, and don’t put them on a sunny windowsill to hasten ripening. Instead, put tomatoes in a sealed paper bag with or without ethylene-producing fruit such as bananas. Ripe tomatoes will hold at room temperature for two or three days. Ripe tomatoes you’ve refrigerated to keep from spoiling will taste better if you bring them to room temperature before eating.

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