Salad on the run: Instant fresh tomato basil salad

Salad on the run: Instant fresh tomato basil salad

By Carolyne

Instant fresh tomato basil salad

Here’s one you can’t mess up. Cut up a yummy (seeded) large fresh red tomato into small pieces. Mince (chop very fine) about a teaspoon of fresh white onion. Put both in a small mixing bowl. If you like a bit of garlic, mince a very tiny piece. Add a little salt and fresh ground pepper and a generous pinch of dried thyme, but not the kind that looks like ground pepper. Make sure it’s just a pinch because it’s powerful.

Open a tin of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drain them and rinse off the starch.

Add about a quarter of the peas to the tomato bowl (save the rest in a covered container in the fridge… they keep). Now add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite olive oil, a little white Balsamic vinegar (just a spritz – and this recipe works best only with “white” Balsamic – Fortino’s is the best one I have found to date)… and adjust salt to your taste. Toss with a tiny squirt of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add just a little sprinkle of dried ground Parmesan.

Buy a little jar of artichoke hearts in olive oil. Keep the opened jar in the fridge – it lasts a long time. Take a couple of the artichoke hearts from the oil, and chop loosely and place on side of each salad plate just before serving.  Add a teaspoon of the artichoke oil, and a tiny bit of the minced artichokes floating in the oil, to the tomato dish. If you like to cook with spirits, add a tiny splash of your favourite brandy.

Just before serving, finely chop about a half-teaspoon of fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on the salad. Give a quick toss and serve over shredded (horizontally) romaine lettuce leaves, or place on top of Boston Leaf Lettuce. Ideally use the hydroponically grown Boston Bibb lettuce. It really does taste different, and I think, better. Always wash lettuce well, under quite hot running water (yes, you read that right – quite hot water). Shake the lettuce and pat dry. Roll the lettuce up securely in a clean light-weight kitchen towel and store in the fridge in a plastic bag until you are ready to use it. This works really well for romaine lettuce also. The lettuce will be crisp as though you had just picked it from the garden.

Prep time: less than five minutes. Amazingly simple, and DELICIOUS! Try it. You’ll love it. It can be made ahead of time, except for adding the fresh basil. Add the basil just before eating. I serve this salad with havarti sun-dried tomato cheese and Melba toast on a side plate.  This salad looks particularly nice served on a black plate.

I love it, and salad doesn’t get better than this. It’s fresh and delicious and your friends and colleagues will beg for more. Remember, first we eat with our eyes. Serves two.

This salad makes a great Sunday morning brunch, served as a first course, followed by seared chicken livers, mushrooms and onions and a sprinkle of dried thyme. Salt and pepper it when cooked. Keep it warm in a chafing dish, served alongside a great cream of roasted multi-coloured pepper soup, and your favourite fresh baked bread. If you would like these additional recipes, send me an email note. They may appear in a later REM column.

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. At some point in discussion we got onto the topic of eggs. If you know that you should eat fish a couple of times each week, and some nutritionists recommend eating salmon or tuna (even from a tin) twice each week, and you just can't bring yourself to buy fish or try eating fresh fish, try this instead: Make egg salad with nothing in it other than a litle salt, pepper, and mayo.

    Mash drained tinned tuna or salmon and add a quarter cup to your egg salad. Makes a great appetizer treat as well, served on your favourite crackers, or on a slice of cucumber as the base (maybe sprinkle a little paprika on top). If you want to get creative, serve it on a washed endive leaf. The mixture is even good as everyday sandwiches.

    You will come back to this easy-fix time and time again. Makes another of those quick and easy, grab and run real food items you can pack for a lunch or a picnic also. As a Realtor on the run, keep this handy, good for you food, at the ready.

    Will keep, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days. Teens will actually eat it, and the little people will ask for more. Slice the sandwiches for little ones in strips for a treat, maybe even remove the crusts. Perhaps introduce an olive or a chunk of pineapple, maybe even a piece of avacado spritzed with lemon (good for you fat) strategically positioned with a fancy toothpick.

    Carolyne L or
    Serving Burlington and Brampton residential real estate clients

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