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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 12: Colorful and tasty tomato salad

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A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa).

A successful tomato salad (that — amazingly — doesn't taste like salsa). by Sarah Henning

Hello friends, how’s it going this week? Everything’s just dandy over here. Want to know why?

The tomatoes are HERE.

They’re in my garden, they’re at the Farmers’ Market and they’re probably in your weekly CSA.

Of course, thanks to the wonder that is our global food economy, these days you can get a tomato any time of year, but nothing — NOTHING — tastes as good as a fresh, in-season tomato. Certainly not those sad, mealy “tomatoes” available in the winter, or even the giant, expensive hydroponic guys that make their debut in the spring. They may be the first of the year, but they certainly aren’t the tastiest.

Now, I’m most fond of heirlooms, my favorite being the beautiful Purple Cherokee. I have four of those plants myself, and if I see a good one at the store or market, I snatch it up, whether I need it or not.

That said, I also have a major soft spot for the sweet little orange cherry tomato hybrids known as SunSugar or Sun Gold. They’re the sweetest tomatoes around (in my estimation) and they’re nearly fool-proof to grow. Plus, they are easy to pick and tiny, which means the boy loves them.

Luckily we’ve been able to get some in our Rolling Prairie CSA pickups (and at the market), because the four plants I have just aren’t enough. (Yes, I have four Cherokee Purple and two each of the SunSugar and Sun Gold. We also have a couple Black Krim and Green Zebra plants.) And last week, we got some cherry tomatoes in our CSA pickup, along with potatoes, beets, a turnip, cucumbers, summer squash, blackberries and mushrooms.

The potatoes were made into baked wedges, the mushrooms and squash rounded out a kale stir-fry, the beets were juiced, the cucumbers ended up in salad, the blackberries eaten out of hand and the turnip saved for a rainy day (or something). But the tomatoes, I had a plan for those, as you can see from the top picture.

I decided I’d try to make an all-tomato salad that wouldn’t taste like salsa. Kind of tough to do with the way my brain works because I really like salsa, but I’m really happy with the result: Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing.

It’s super easy, will take care of two pints of tomatoes at a time (or more) and is healthy as all get out. Perfect for a hot summer evening, or to bring to lunch after a night spent picking from your backyard garden.

Oh, and you could probably use chopped “normal” tomatoes for the salad as well, but the texture will be different, FYI.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Lime-Garlic Dressing

2 pints (or more!) cherry tomatoes

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 pinch each: salt, pepper, cumin

Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a serving bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the tomatoes. Stir gently and serve. Serves 4.

What’d we get this week? Carrots, blackberries, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, cucumber (just one), corn and yellow squash.

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