Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon

Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon

This Mediterranean Tomato Salad is irresistible.  Indeed, its bright flavors make it an ideal foil for kebabs and other grilled meats.  Best of all?  The bulk of the work can be done well in advance.

Summer was made for salads.  The gorgeous fresh produce in the garden, and at the market, beckons.  Plus, the heat makes us want to step away from the stove and prepare something light, cool, and refreshing.

Summer Tomatoes

One of my favorite summer ingredients is fresh tomatoes.  After a long winter of mealy, unripe tomatoes, I’m always ready for summer’s bounty.  In recent years, the selection of gorgeous tomatoes of rainbow colors has continued to expand.  Each color, size and shape bursts with its own unique flavors — some tart, some sweet.  Together, they play together like a beautiful orchestra — as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.

This is a terrific salad to make on a day when you find gorgeous, ripe summer tomatoes at the market — or in your garden.  If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes — so much the better.  If your tomatoes are the full-sized variety, use them anyway.  However, do take the time to peel, seed, and dice them.  Otherwise, the salad will be too juicy.

Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon | cookglobaleatlocal.comThe Recipe

This particular salad is a riff on a classic recipe from Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean: 215 Healthy, Vibrant, and Inspired Recipes.  I have maintained the harmony of the original Lebanese salad, but have changed the cast of characters a bit.

Rather than putting you to the hassle of peeling and seeding tomatoes — which does have its pluses — I’ve opted for a colorful mix of small heirloom tomatoes.  A tad juicier, yes.  However, if you assemble your salad at the time of serving, it won’t last long enough to get overly juicy.  In addition I’ve added a quick, red onion and preserved lemon pickle to garnish.


Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon

Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon |
Jeanette Marie
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Prep Time:  30 minutes Servings:  6

This luscious Mediterranean salad is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats. It makes a pretty and flavorful addition to the table and comes together in mere minutes. The minor advance planning to season the cheese is well worth the effort!

    For the cheese
  • 200 g feta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    For the onion pickle
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, sliced into fine julienne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 1ablespoon red wine vinegar
    The tomatoes
  • 600 g mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup Italian, flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Drain the feta thoroughly. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the feta, oregano, thyme, sumac, and pepper. Cover and let it stand for 2-3 hours to absorb the flavor.
  3. 30 minutes before serving, massage the salt, sumac and red vinegar into the sliced onions and preserved lemon rind. Cover and leave to stand. This mixture will become a pretty, pink quick pickle.
  4. Mix the seasoned feta and the quick pickle just before serving.
  5. At serving time, arrange the tomatoes on a platter. Top with the seasoned cheese and pickle mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the entire salad. Garnish with flat leaf parsley.

If you don't have preserved lemons on hand, you could leave them out. The salad will still be delicious. However, the lemons do add a certain mysterious, umami flavor which brightens up the salad.

Nutrition label for Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Onion, Spiced Feta, and Preserved Lemon

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