August 1, 2013

Thai Basil Tomato Salad

Caprese salad, the classic Italian combination of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's a summer standard at my house. The salad, as is, makes a great a light lunch on a hot day. Sometimes I leave out the mozzarella and serve it alongside grilled fish. Or I throw in some minced garlic and we pile it on top of toasted bread. Recently I even blended the basil into a pesto and tossed the cheese and tomatoes with pasta to make a Caprese pasta salad.

But one thing I hadn't done was change the basic flavors of the salad. Then I came across a recipe for Thai basil crostini. The concept was simple, but brilliant. Take the elements of a Caprese salad, then swap in Asian ingredients. It went like this:

Caprese Salad                         Thai Basil Tomato Salad
tomatoes                                 tomatoes
Italian basil                              Thai basil
garlic                                       shallots
balsamic vinegar                      rice vinegar
olive oil                                   sesame oil

The substitutions were simple and straightforward. But the change was remarkable. It was still a tomato salad. But on an Asian adventure.

Start with cherry or grape tomatoes. I found these beauties at a farmer's market.

Halve tomatoes and place in a bowl.

Add shallot, sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper.

Stir and let the tomatoes sit for 15 minutes.

Stir in Thai basil and serve!

Thai Basil Tomato Salad

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 small shallot, minced
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup thinly sliced Thai basil leaves

1.    In a bowl, combine tomatoes, shallot, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes to let flavors meld.

2.    Mix in Thai basil.

3.    Serve.

Makes 2 cups

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