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Tomato-Herb Salad with Sumac
Tart and vibrant, sumac is a common seasoning in Middle Eastern cooking. We use it here to balance the sweetness of tomatoes, mixing it into an oniony vinaigrette. The tomatoes, along with an abundance of herbs, get gently tossed in the vinaigrette while a final spoonful of sumac adds a finishing sprinkle of flavor. Note that this salad is best made with perfectly ripe, in-season tomatoes. For added color and flavor contrast, add diced or coarsely crumbled feta cheese.
small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
tablespoons lemon juice, divided
01In a small bowl, stir together the onion and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Let stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then drain. Finely chop the garlic, then use the flat side of a chef’s knife to mash it to a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice, the oil, 3 teaspoons of sumac and ¾ teaspoon salt.
I love the tart lemon, herbs and red onions with the garlic-lemon dressing. This dressing needed a bit more acidity for my taste and red wine vinegar did the trick. Summer tomatoes are best, but I have also used cherub and compari tomatoes successfully, especially when summer tomatoes are not available. We love to make this into a tomato bread salad by adding leftover sourdough bread (and sometimes white beans for a satisfying protein).
Even outside of fresh, peak tomato season there can be very good varieties of hot house grown large cherry tomatoes (typically on stem) that when cut in half and used in this recipe make a great "off season" salad. The combination of the sumac with the herbs, tomatoes and onion is as delicious to eat as it is pretty to look at on the service platter.