Turkish Chopped Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Introduction

“Salata a la Turka” similar to the Turkish shepherd’s salad or the Israeli chopped salad appears at summer-time tables on the island of Rhodes. This colourful salad is at its best especially in the summer when the tomatoes are ripe, juicy and at their peak and cucumbers crunchy. This simple salad makes a healthy and delicious accompaniment to grilled meat or chicken with lots of warm flatbread to scoop up the tangy lemon and olive oil dressing.

Turkish Chopped Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Steps

Prepare the vegetables:


For the tomatoes: Quarter the tomatoes through the stem end. Cut and remove the inner pulp from each quarter and discard together with the seeds.  Chop the tomatoes into ½ inch dice and set aside.


Chop the remaining vegetables in small cubes approximately the same size and set aside.


Make the dressing:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, add more chopped parsley if needed.  Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving for the flavours to develop.


Stella’s Hints:

* For a splash of colour use knobbly red, yellow and green heirloom tomatoes.

* For a spicy flavour, add ½ tsp Turkish red pepper flakes, 1 tsp sumac, 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses instead of the lemon juice, and half a cup of pomegranate seeds (optional).

* Be sure to make this salad soon before serving to keep the crunch.  If you chop the vegetables an hour before keeping the ingredients in the refrigerator covered without the dressing to stop the vegetables becoming soggy.

Ingredients

4 large ripe Roma tomatoes

2 small Persian cucumbers (or ½ English cucumber) seeded

1 small red onion chopped

½ cup black olives pitted and halved

½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, use leaves and tender stems


For the dressing:

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, finely grated (optional)