This simple salad highlights the flavor of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. It is best made in the summer months when tomatoes are fragrant and cucumbers are crisp and sweet. In Turkey this salad is usually made with larger tomatoes, but I've chosen to prepare it with assorted baby heirloom tomatoes for more depth of flavor.
Variations on this salad include adding different spices, like sumac or red pepper flakes, and introducing different herbs like mint and spring onion. You may choose to also add fresh long green pepper, as many cooks in Turkey do.
The extra virgin olive oil you select is as important as the vegetables. If you can buy the olive oil at a speciality store that will let you taste-test it beforehand, I would recommend doing so. Often the prices at those stores are more reasonable than you may have guessed, and you'll be able to speak with experts to choose the best oil for your needs - choosing olive oil is a lot like choosing a wine! Make sure it comes in a container that protects it from light (i.e. dark glass), is fresh, and has a pleasant peppery taste. Remember to save your extra virgin olive oil for cold dishes, dipping bread, or other non-heated applications, and use a different oil for cooking (preferably one that is less expensive and has a higher smoke point).
1 pound tomatoes (try assorted baby heirloom if you can get them), cut into small pieces (1/2 kg)
1 pound seedless cucumbers, peeled and sliced (1/2 kg)
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (~30 grams)
2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil (30 mL)
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams)
Juice of 1 large lemon
- Toss tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and parsley in a large bowl with olive oil and salt.
- Add lemon juice and toss again. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve cold with pita bread and feta cheese (beyaz peynir!).