In Minnesota, we plant our tomatoes, then we wait. It’s been a hard year in the garden, but the tomato plants seemed to really like the fact that it rained for the entire month of June, and a good part of July. The ten thousand lakes and creeks and rivers all jumped their banks and tried to claim new territory, but all the while, my tomatoes just soaked it up and grew like crazy.
So the harvest has started, with my Santa Sweets jumping out in front and giving me a steady supply of sweet grape tomatoes. A few Otto’s Lebanese arrived, and recently the little yellow pear tomatoes ripened. Everything is a little battered, from all that rain, and some of the plants are producing only tomatoes with blossom end rot.
If anyone really knows what to do about that, let me know. I’ve read lots of articles about it, recommending everything from vigilant timed watering, adding calcium to the soil, and never planting in the same soil twice. I guess I can’t be that vigilant. I just trim the black part and eat what I can.
So I wanted to do something a little different from the standard, simple tomato salad. Yes, a plate of sliced tomatoes with nothing but olive oil and vinegar, and a handful of fresh basil is heavenly. Minimalism at its best. But after the first twenty or so of these babies, it may be time to branch out. So I cast my eye upon the other side of the garden, when the purple Thai basil and the aggressive garlic chives were flourishing, and inspiration struck.
Why not display my lovely tomatoes with a bit of Thai flair? No need to throw the model of the tomato basil salad out the window, just spice it up a bit. Thai salads, called Laab or Larb, are often cooked, brothy affairs that look to the Western eye rather like soup. But the Thai use of piles of fresh herbs and cooling, bright fresh vegetables is perfectly in keeping with my salad.
Of course, this salad could become more of a main with a few slabs of marinated tofu or tempeh, or served over some cooled short grain brown rice to soak up the dressing.
For me, it’s all about showing off my precious tomatoes, still warm from the sun.
Thai Tomato Salad
This amount of dressing will cover a plate full of tomatoes. Double it if you want to season some rice, too.
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1-2 teaspoons Red Curry Paste
2 teaspoons soy sauce ( I used GF tamari)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
1/2 cup fresh Thai Basil
1 large jalapeno, seeded and slivered
assorted tomatoes, sliced
roasted cashews, to taste
In a cup, whisk the palm sugar with the lime juice to dissolve. It may be chunky but will eventually melt in. Whisk in the paste, soy sauce and oil, and half of the ginger.
Arrange tomatoes, basil, ginger, and jalapenos on plates, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with cashews. Eat.