Despite the fact that we lived in the city, The Bronx had enough natural beauty for my father to enjoy. There was Mosholu Parkway, Pelham Parkway, Poe Park, and Van Cortlandt Park, just to name a few of the places where one could escape to. On Sundays my father and I would walk to St. James Park with a brown paper bag filled with leftover Challah, and feed the birds. We could spend hours there, not saying much, just sitting and watching the pigeons that flocked around the crumbs at my father’s feet. Some Sundays were spent at The Bronx Zoo or at Orchard Beach. My father loved being outdoors and he loved animals. As an extension of that connection to nature, he was conscious of the things he ate and where they came from. He always preferred eating food in its most natural state, feeling that fruits and vegetables were created in the way they were intended to be eaten, perfect in their simplicity. It has taken me a long time to reach the same conclusion.
Here is a very simple tomato salad. It is really best when you use ripe, locally grown, plum tomatoes.
Tomato Basil Salad
1 dozen Roma Tomatoes,
One bunch fresh Basil
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Slice Roma tomatoes in half, lengthwise, and gently squeeze out pulp. Dice into 1/2 ” cubes and place in large bowl. Remove basil leaves from stem, then stack and roll. With a sharp knife cut into thin slices. Add to tomatoes. Mince garlic and add to bowl, along with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil, cover and allow to sit for flavors to blend before serving.
Note: This is great on Matzoh!
March 7, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Another Suggestion was sent as an alternative. From Roz.
Add corn shaved right off fresh uncooked corn or high quality frozen corn put into salad and allow it to thaw for several minutes before placing in salad add thin little slices and dices of purple onion squeeze a little lemon juice to the olive oil oy my mouth is watering i have made this many times and its great just add this to other recipe for another delicious version roz
March 7, 2011 at 12:39 PM
It is amazing that he was able to really appreciate nature, even in NYC. It is a gift of his vision that he transferrred that love to you and your kids.
March 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Who knew?? I didn’t appreciate that about him when he was alive. Sad.
March 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM
Yummy, Irene. I make this too, sometimes with mozerella and sometimes not. I’ve added some hearts of palm too. Love reading my mother’s comments. Fun. Have a good week and thanks for another post!
March 6, 2011 at 6:23 PM
Thanks Lori!! I love reading her comments as well!!!
March 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Funny — Sarah just called me the other day for this recipe …. we make it all the time. I admit I am too lazy to remove the seeds, though… We ALWAYS have this at our seder table:)
March 6, 2011 at 1:08 PM
Just squeeze, like Hersh use to say!
March 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM
i love this salad, sometimes i had some pine nuts on the top for decoration
March 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Great idea!! Shira doesn’t like them, unfortunately.
March 6, 2011 at 12:26 PM
my father always embarrassed us when we went to a restaurant-he asked the waiter to make him a salad of cut up tomatoes chopped onions and garlic with salt pepper and oil. He was ahead of his time. I make your version adding mozzarella cheese.
March 6, 2011 at 1:10 PM
Was he European? I don’t think I ever asked you that question. Sad that we were so easily embarrassed.
March 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Tomato basil salad is one of my favorite summer foods. I make it every Friday night in the summer months, using our own homegrown basil along with Jersey tomatoes that we either pick at a local farm, or buy at the farmer’s market. My recipe is similar but I usually make it with a diced scallion instead of the garlic. Either way is wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait for summer!
March 6, 2011 at 11:14 AM
I remember those tomatoes so well!!! Nothing like them. Thanks for writing!
March 6, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Just added you to my blogroll. Hope that’s o.k.