Tomato and Cucumber Salad

When I want a cool and refreshing salad during the hot Texas summer days, I make this delicious cucumber and tomato salad. I love the crunch when I bite into a cucumber its cooling and perfect for warm days. The light and tangy herb dressing for this recipe is my mothers, about 10 years ago she passed it on to me to serve at my café. Basic pantry ingredients are all that’s needed and if you don’t have fresh dill, not to worry dried will work perfectly.

Five Fun Facts About the Cucumber

  • If you eat 1 cup of cucumbers with the skin on, you are only consuming 16 calories, so eat up.
  • Cucumber can cure bad breath. A slice pressed to the roof of your mouth for 30 seconds with your tongue allows the phytochemicals to kill the problematic bacteria.
  • Pureed or sliced cucumber gives an almost instant relief to sunburnt skin. Just place some against the affected area.
  • You will get about 4 percent of your daily potassium and 3 percent of your daily fiber in a 1 cup serving.
  • There can be a 20° difference from the inside of a cucumber and the temperature outside.  I think this little fact to be where the phrase “cool as a cucumber” came from.

A Tomato Filled Memory

When I was young, I would visit my aunt and uncle who lived on a lake in Northern California. One highlight of that trip besides fishing the day away was spending hours in their vegetable garden. Every morning my job was to go out into the garden and harvest as many ripe tomatoes as I could find. From small cherry tomatoes to larger than a baseball beefsteak tomatoes, they grew everything. It also meant I could taste all of those tomatoes.

It went like this. I would find the perfect cluster of ripe tomatoes, picks as many as I could then I would hold a few back for myself.  But I wouldn’t just pop them in my mouth. I had a process. Before I left the house for the garden, I’d swipe the small wooden saltbox from my aunt’s kitchen counter. Then, I would find a small metal gardening pail in the garage and fill it with water. Now back to the garden. I would take a tomato, wash it in that little pail of water and sprinkle it with a bit of salt then pop it in my mouth. On and on that went for hours, I always thought my aunt didn’t see me take that saltbox or those tastes but she knew and didn’t say a word. How did I know she was in on my game? For Christmas one year I received a garden pail and a saltbox with a special note. “Katie, I thought you might like to have your own garden tasting tools when you come to visit the lake.”

This recipe is full of special memories that surround my aunt, uncle, their home and the love they gave me. This is also a recipe celebrating how delicious cucumbers and tomatoes are together. Creating a creamy dressing verse an oil based is very simple. In place of the oil add in ¼ mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Mix the dressing and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. It’s also delicious as a dip with a vegetable platter.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
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Ingredients

  • 4 English Cucumbers Thinly Sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 Cups Grape Tomatoes Cut in Half
  • 1 Cup Red Onions Thinly Sliced
  • For the dressing
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/8 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or a mason jar with a lid add all dressing ingredients and mix well then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl place a colander inside of it then place the sliced cucumbers in the colander and sprinkle with salt, toss cucumbers and salt with your hands and allow to rest for an hour. This step will help remove the excess water cucumbers hold. Take the sliced cucumbers from the colander and place in a large bowl, discard the cucumber liquid.
  3. Add the halved tomatoes and onions to the cucumbers, add the dressing and gently toss until evenly coated.
  4. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Adjust seasoning and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.
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