Are you looking for a new tomato salad recipe? Happily, it’s still peak summer on the East coast, where I’m spending a little time to nourish my mother back to health, and I’ve been able to enjoy some excellent summer produce, especially tomatoes. For the past few days, I’ve been cooking healing meals for her (and my dad) as well as doing my best to stockpile their freezer with several weeks’ worth of meals so that after my brief time here, they’ll be able to continue to eat well until my mom is back on her feet. This means I’ve been cooking a lot. One of the new dishes I’ve made a few times came from a surprising source of inspiration– my father, who doesn’t cook, and doesn’t usually make specific food requests. But when I brought home a bag of beautiful beefsteak tomatoes from a farmers’ market, he asked if I could prepare them the way they enjoy them in Taiwan, with a simple soy sauce-ginger dressing. (What he actually said was “with soy sauce and some kind of spice.”) I didn’t grow up eating this salad, so I asked my mom about it. She said that it’s a common way to that people in the Taiwanese countryside, especially in the South, where my parents both grew up, eat tomatoes, and she never thought of it as anything special. She actually forgot about it for many decades after relocating to Taipei, and then the US. It wasn’t until my parents moved back part-time to Taiwan about a decade ago that they began to eat tomatoes this way again. This is an example of a non-recipe recipe in which the delicious and refreshing whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Please add it to your summer tomato rotation and let me know what you think!
Taiwanese Tomato Salad
Serves: 4 as a side or starter
2-3 medium, very ripe beefsteak tomatoes
a thumb of ginger (about 2 inches)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
- Core and slice tomatoes into wedges and place into a bowl.
- Peel and grate ginger (using a Japanese ginger grater, as pictured below, is ideal but you can also use a rasp grater, like a Microplane), and add it and its juices to a small bowl with the sugar and soy sauce. Adjust for gingeryness and sweetness. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour over the tomatoes, and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes before serving. Arrange on a plate to serve, and optionally garnish with thinly sliced scallions.
Because of my family emergency, I won’t be able to teach tomorrow’s Thrive Kitchen class, for only the second time ever! I will miss all of you and thank you for understanding. Happily, you’ll be in the very capable hands of my team, Emma, Dan, Connie and some fabulous volunteers! Everyone, have a great class, and I’ll see you at the next one in September, Taco Bar!