Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Sumac Tomato Cucumber Salad

This is probably one of my favorite salads. I love salads that have no lettuce -but that's just me. This salad is simply just tomatoes and cucumbers (garbanzo beans optional and tasty).  Cherry or grape tomatoes work best but I couldn't find any quality ones this time around.  The dressing is so simple! The zesty kick comes from the Sumac. Sumac is a spice that is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking as a garnish or to impart a sour flavor in dishes such as kabobs or salads. In fact, back in the old Roman days, sumac was used before lemon was discovered. This salad is a perfect complement to any Mediterranean meal.

When you take a bite of this salad and close your eyes you will feel like you are somewhere in a downtown Middle Eastern city surrounded by the smell of kabobs on the BBQ and freshly baked baked. Let us "go there" now...

Getting Started...
The line-up showing up for role call

I used vine-ripened tomatoes but like I mentioned, cherry or grape tomatoes work best.  If using a cherry or grape tomato, simply cut it in half lengthwise and you're done! Otherwise, start by cutting the tomato in half...

Then in quarters and remove the seeds. Seeds will make the salad very watery.
(no need to remove the seeds if using grape/cherry tomatoes)

Then dice and dice

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then in half again lengthwise so you get 4 strips. No need to peel.

Cut in small pieces

Add Salt

Add Sumac

Because I love this salad so much and I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to show you that I also put the Red Wine Vinegar and the Olive Oil. Also, you can add one 15oz can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed). Garnishing with 1/4 C of chopped parsley is nice too.

5 Vine Ripened Tomatoes
7 Persian Cucumbers
3-4 tbsp Sumac
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed (optional but tasty)
1/4 C Chopped Parsley (optional but tasty)
1/3 C or so toasted pita chips for a nice crunchy element (optional but tasty)

All the above measurements are approximate and can really be suited to your taste. I may have even added more "here and there". I tend to do that when making salads. Unlike baking, there aren't any rules or exact measurements which makes it so much fun to make it your own!