CSAs are unpredictable by design: when you sign up at the beginning of the season for a share of a farmer's crop, you are signing on to share in the uncertainties of agriculture. For example, last year was a lousy year for strawberries. We only got a few pints, unlike the season before when they were a major component of our share for much of the summer. However, last year was a stellar year for sweet corn, and we had a standing Friday night date with salt, butter, and half a dozen boiled ears of corn.
Despite the unpredictability, there does seem to be one produce item that we can count on: tomatoes. Although we're not drowned in the tomato deluge that I've heard about from some of my gardener friends, they do make up a large part of our diet during the summer and early fall. I have several vegetarian pasta recipes that use tomatoes, occasionally make fresh salsa, and if all else fails slice up a tomato and eat it raw with my lunch. But I'm always on the lookout for new things to try, so an article about marinated tomato salads in an August/September 2008 issue of Cook's Country magazine that I picked up a rummage sale caught my eye. After slicing the tomatoes and mixing them with salt, the slices are drained on paper towels. This results in a more flavorful, less watery salad, and the technique was well worth the extra 20 minutes or so of prep and drain time. The following recipe is adapted from the "Marinated Tomato Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese" recipe printed in the article. Since I'm not a big fan of goat cheese, I substituted feta cheese, and also added some lemon juice for extra brightness.
Adapted from "Marinated Tomato Salads" by Diane Unger, published in the August/September 2008 issue of Cook's Country magazine
Serves 4 as a generous side dish
- 4 medium tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Toss sliced tomatoes and salt in a large bowl. Place tomato slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and let drain for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the arugula, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and pepper in the bowl. Add the drained tomatoes and toss gently. Allow the mixture to marinate for 15 minutes, and sprinkle with feta before serving.