once upon a chef
– 1 cup diced red onion, from 1 small red onion – 3 lbs tomatoes – 1 English (or hothouse) cucumber, seeded and diced (no need to peel) – 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced – 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced – 1 teaspoon Tabasco – 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, best quality – ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, best quality – 1 teaspoon salt – ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper – ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (okay to substitute flat-leaf parsley)
Part soup, part salad — I really wasn’t sure what to call this dish. The flavor is 100% gazpacho, yet it’s much chunkier than the traditional soup. You’ll still need a bowl and spoon to eat though; the dressing is so fresh and plentiful, you’ll want to drink it! The salad needs to be made at least an hour and a half ahead of time to allow the flavors to marry, so plan accordingly.
Begin by placing the diced onions in a small bowl and covering with cold water. Let the onions soak for 10 minutes, and then drain. This takes away their sharp edge and makes them much more palatable.
While the onions soak, cut the tomatoes in half through their “equator.” Holding each tomato half over a large mixing bowl, use a finger to scoop out the seeds and juices (those will make up part of the dressing). You can also gently squeeze the tomato half to push out the seeds.
Add to the bowl along with the remaining salad ingredients. Toss well.
Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours to allow the flavors to marry. During this time, the vegetables will exude more juice so you’ll need to taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and more Tabasco before serving, if necessary. Spoon the vegetables and dressing into bowls and serve with spoons.