I may be jumping the gun early because tomatoes aren’t fully in season until July, but the weather so far this year has been strange and the winter long. So let’s start summer early!
An Easy Starter Recipe for a Summer Meal:
Simple French meals often begin with a light Starter dish made of raw vegetables, especially in the warmer summer months. I think beginning your meal with a light raw vegetable dish, separate from the main course, is one way French women stay slim and yet enjoy such great food.
Beginning a meal with a raw vegetable slows you down and helps you feel full and satisfied at the end of the meal. You won’t tend to eat as quickly as when everything is piled onto one plate.
I heard one of France’s 3 star Michelin chefs mention this recipe in an interview on television years ago, but haven’t seen it mentioned in a recipe book since. Luckily, I quickly wrote it down at the time (on the back of an envelope!) and still use it today as a go-to easy Starter in summer.
This simple salad has only 2 ingredients! The vinaigrette requires only 3 ingredients (plus salt & pepper). However, it’s a mixture of flavors that will wow friends and family and save you from boredom with the same old recipes on repeat you may be using.
Tomato and Mint Salad with Raspberry and Vanilla Vinaigrette
- 4 Tomatoes (Roma, Heirloom or another varietal for salads)
- 4 Branches of fresh mint (enough for 4-5 leaves per person)
- 6 TB of Olive Oil
- 3 TB of Red Wine Raspberry Vinegar
- 1/8 tsp of Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Powder (“Tahiti Vanille” is my favorite supplier)
- Salt & pepper to taste
I serve this as a plated Starter course, not tossed in a salad bowl.
-Prepare 4 Starter plates for serving
-Rinse and slice tomatoes in half then in thin quarters so as to be able to arrange later in a fan-like circle on each plate
-Start with the vinaigrette: place 3 TB of Red Wine Raspberry Vinaigrette in a small mixing bowl
-Stir in the vanilla extract or powder until well mixed
-Whisk in the olive oil
-Add salt & pepper to taste
-Place about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette in each Starter plate and spread around the plate with the back of a spoon.
-Arrange tomato slices splayed in a fan-like circle on each plate on top of the vinaigrette
-Sprinkle each plate with chopped fresh mint leaves (about 5 leaves per person) and serve
The French chef who spoke of this easy tomato salad recipe also added black olive paste or “tapenade
The vanilla in the vinaigrette adds a mysterious flavor twist that goes well with tomatoes without being overwhelming. (see my Carrot Salad Recipe for another version of vanilla vinaigrette)
Whenever I serve this to someone for the first time, I like to ask them to guess the ingredients in the vinaigrette. While some have noticed the raspberry vinegar, they haven’t as yet guessed the presence of vanilla.
No one will ask “What’s vanilla doing in my tomato salad?”
Go to my IGTV channel (@nancyconwayparis), to see me make this recipe from start to finish.
And now you: Do you have some easy salad recipes with unusual ingredients in them? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com