But for spring, before the summer tomatoes are ripe, today's condiment of complex flavors will do you quite nicely. My Dutch neighbor Marion (who is married to Marseillais) taught me to make it. It's super easy to throw together, and endlessly versatile. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate healthy and delicious Mediterranean flavors into your diet, this is a fine start. It's basically what we would call a salsa, but with some Mediterranean additions.
Watching her make it, I asked, “What do you do with it exactly? “Everything!” she answered. And over then next few days, we did just that, eating it every which-a-way.
Here are some ideas: Serve it spread on a toasted baguette or with crackers; drizzle it over a green salad; or use it as a colorful sauce for fish or chicken. Or serve in a small dish with a spoon, as an appetizer. Or use it as a condiment on a sandwich. And whatever else you can think of!
- 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, or (2 medium good summer tomatoes, coarsely chopped, if you have them)
- 1 bell pepper, chopped small
- 1 small hot pepper (un piment or jalapeño), finely chopped
- 8 or 10 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, (about 4 tablespoons), chopped
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thin and then chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped fine
- about 20 greek olives, pits removed
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and/or chives
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon crema de balsamico de modena, for sweetness (or substitute 1 teaspoon brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Put chopped tomatoes in a bowl and squeeze them gently with your hands to release the juices. Add all other ingredients and stir. Taste and correct seasonings. Let marinate overnight. Since the vegetables are basically pickled, it will keep for quite a while in your fridge. Serve, as above.
It's always nice to have a meetup with blog readers. We had a fine lunch in Nice with Kris (a Brit) and Eric (American) at the Nice market, and even got to meet their cute grandson. They live in Brittany but have a little getaway in the old town of Nice.
Favorite Reads: Anyone who's interested in how health care works in France---and how it might work in the states, if we had a lick of sense--might want to read this article in Slate, about one woman's experience in the French system. Not perfect, but it sure is an improvement over ours.