Today I’m sharing another one of my favorite summertime side dishes that I have been making now for quite some time. Every year, around this time, it seems like our garden is bursting with tomatoes and cucumbers. While I love both tomatoes and cucumbers, I find it difficult to find a use for all of them since they seem to ripen all at once. It is especially difficult to find different recipes for cucumbers.
This cucumber and tomato salad is a perfect way to use some cucumbers and tomatoes that you picked from your garden or happened to pick up at the farmers market. It is a fresh, easy and great dish for a summer BBQ or afternoon picnic.
You can also use halved grape tomatoes. I prefer to use whatever is available since the salad tastes delicious with either. Don’t be too concerned if you don’t have very much tomato liquid. Especially with small grape tomatoes, I find that even after spinning and shaking the tomatoes, I often have very little liquid, sometimes less than 1/4 of a cup. I just combine whatever liquid I have, up to 1/2 cup, with the other ingredients and decrease the amount of time to simmer on the stove.
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into ½-inch chunks
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
Combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar in a medium bowl; toss to combine. Let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a salad spinner and spin until the seeds and excess liquid have been removed, about 1 minute. Stir to redistribute the tomatoes during spinning as needed. Return the tomatoes to the bowl and set aside. (If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can put the tomatoes in a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and gently shake the bowl to remove the excess seeds and liquid.) Strain the tomato liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible.
Combine no more than ½ cup of the tomato liquid with the garlic, oregano, shallot and vinegar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Simmer until the mixture is reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the oil, and season with pepper to taste.
Add the cucumber, feta, dressing and parsley to the bowl with the tomatoes. Toss gently and serve.