Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta & Oregano Flowers

DSC_0243-1-710With the local tomatoes still in season, heirlooms from Millstone Farms and beefsteaks from Roden Farms, why not showcase this summer delicacy with another great Tomato Salad recipe. This one comes from our friend Katie, The Parsley Thief , and it’s a sure-fire healthy hit!

From the Parsley Thief’s post:
As I mentioned a few posts ago, we haven’t had much luck with our heirloom tomatoes this year, as I planted them in a location that’s not getting enough sun to ripen them. Well, since then, we got two ripe ones! In addition to that I got a big bowl of garden goodies from my mother…about a dozen big tomatoes, a few peppers & some of her delicious homegrown garlic. Then yesterday, a neighbor stopped by with a few of her tomatoes & a red bell pepper. So, I had a huge abundance & this is what I decided to make with some of them.
Growing up, my mother & my grandmother used to make summer salads with big chunks of tomatoes & cucumbers, or peppers, sprinkled with lots of garden oregano. It’s still, to this day, one of my most favorite salads.
Normally, I am not a huge green bell pepper fan. That is, unless they’re homegrown. Something about the thin-skinned garden variety tastes so much better to me than store bought. It’s not just me either…the Bozo’s have been eating them for the past week, sliced in their lunch boxes.
This recipe is my interpretation of my family’s classic. It’s flexible & if you don’t have green peppers from a garden, I recommend using red, yellow, or orange ones instead…or, you can substitute cucumbers also. Right now, my oregano plant has gone to flower. I love oregano flowers. Not just in an arrangement, because they are so sweet looking…but, because they have tons of flavor & look just as pretty on a plate as they do in a vase.

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Begin with 2 pounds of ripe assorted heirloom tomatoes & 1 large bell pepper {I used 2 small ones instead}. Cut the tomatoes into medium sized uneven chunks. I sliced some of them & cut some into chunks. Seed the pepper & cut into bite sized pieces.

Place the tomatoes into a large colander & sprinkle them with a few pinches of kosher salt. Give them a gentle stir & then another pinch, or two, of salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes.

Next, you will need some garlic, fresh oregano, 1 1/2 ounces of feta cheese & some oregano flowers {if you can manage to find some}.

Mince one clove of garlic. Add it to a small bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of minced oregano & 1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar. Whisk to combine. Slowly add in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, while whisking, to form an emulsion.
Cut the feta into small pieces.

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Gently combine the peppers & tomatoes. Arrange them on a serving platter & sprinkle with the diced feta. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, garnish with the oregano flowers & serve.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta & Oregano Flowers

Serves 4
Oregano plants begin flowering in late summer. If you grow oregano, or can manage to find some oregano flowers, they are packed with flavor & look beautiful sprinkled on top of this salad. White balsamic vinegar is milder than traditional balsamic & will not effect the color of the salad, as the traditional would. If you cannot find it, you can substitute some white wine vinegar.

Salting the tomatoes before arranging the salad helps draw out some excess moisture & really intensifies their fresh tomato flavor.

2 pounds assorted ripe heirloom tomatoes
1 large bell pepper {any color}, seeded & cut into chunks
kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 ounces feta, cut into small bits, or crumbled
oregano flowers, for garnish

Begin my slicing the tomatoes into medium sized, uneven chunks. I like to vary the shapes, large dicing some of them & slicing others. Place them into a large colander & sprinkle them with a few pinches of kosher salt. Give them a gentle stir & then another pinch, or two, of salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, minced oregano & vinegar. Whisk to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, while whisking, to form an emulsion.
Gently combine the peppers & tomatoes. Arrange them on a serving platter & sprinkle with the diced feta. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, garnish with the oregano flowers & serve.
Click here for the printable recipe.

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