This is a departure from my usual tomato salad, which is composed of little more than carved-up tomatoes, torn basil, salt, and olive oil. Daniel and I eat this simple salad almost every night in tomato season, since it takes about twenty seconds to assemble and has a juicy purity of tomato flavor that I can’t seem to get enough of this time of year.
But with the fish sauce, limes, scallions, and jalapeños for the turkey already sitting out within arm’s reach, I decided to try something new.
It turned out to be insanely good, very tangy, and a nice break from the more everyday, if tasty, tomato salads I usually make. I’ve since added it to our summer tomato rotation (sometimes with a sliced Kirby cucumber standing in for one of the tomatoes) and find myself whipping it up even if I have to hunt in the cupboard for the fish sauce and sort through the vegetable bin for a jalapeño. It’s worth the chase every time.
About 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce, such as nam pla or nuoc mam, or to taste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, minced (or use 2 small ones)
1/2 jalapeño, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
3 large or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai or regular basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, scallions, garlic, and jalapeño. (If you think your fish sauce is very salty, start with 1 teaspoon; you can add more at the end.)
2. Arrange the tomato slices on a plate. Spoon the dressing over the tomatoes. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow the tomatoes time to release their juices. Sprinkle with the basil and cilantro; serve.
Recipe excerpted from Favorite Recipes from Melissa Clark's Kitchen (Black Dog & Leventhal; 2018).
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