The smell of basil is a sure sign of summer.
It’s that time of year when “cooking” gets easier because you don’t really have to cook!
The veggies, herbs and fruits are so stellar in their raw form that minimal preparation is necessary.
Ingredients list (enough for four adults)
Basil – one bunch
Tomatoes – 4 medium to large tomatoes (Romas or Heirlooms)
Cherry tomatoes – one basket
Avocado – 4 medium sized avocados. Select the ones that have just a little give when pressed gently.
Shallot – one
Garlic – one head (although you only need one tiny bit of one clove)
Acme baguette – one (sweet or sourdough depending on your preference)
Red wine vinegar
Dressing first (that way the flavors meld while you cut the produce):
Dice the shallot and throw it into a jar (with a lid).
Throw in a pinch of salt (don’t be too shy with your pinch)
Add 2/3 of a cup of olive oil and 1/3 of a cup red wine vinegar. You may have some left over dressing with this quantity. Just store it in the fridge and temper it next time you are making a salad!
Shake the mixture and let it sit.
Cut the large tomatoes into bit size pieces
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half
Cut the avocados in bite size pieces (same as tomatoes)
Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix together with fingers (try not to crush the avocados)
Break the basil leaves off one at a time (leaving the stem behind). You should use about five plentiful stems of basil*. Then break each leaf into pieces. Be gentle so as not to bruise the basil.
Re shake the dressed, and then mix it in…use as much as you think is necessary for great flavor.
Cut the baguette into pieces, toast lightly in the oven or toaster. While it’s still hot, take one pealed clove of garlic cut in half and rub the crumb side of the bread with the garlic. Then take olive oil and drizzle over the top. Finish with salt (to taste).
If you eat cheese and cold cuts of meat, have some on the side. If not, enjoy this salad as a great vegan salad. It’s one of our favorite summer dishes.
*If the basil bunch was more than five stems, store the rest (unwashed) wrapped in a damp paper towel or cloth in the produce drawer of your fridge.