A freshly made tomato basil salad is one of those Italian dishes that just amazes. I grew up recognizing the aroma of freshly picked tomatoes and cut basil. It's incredible how combining these simple ingredients can result in one of the best tasting and healthy dishes ever.
To make the best tomato basil salad, start with the freshest ingredients you can get.
Do not use plum tomatoes. Most other tomatoes will work fine. To add color, you can mix and match yellow and red tomatoes. I like to use tomatoes that are firm and not too ripe. Picking them off the vine yourself is obviously ideal. If you use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, even though they are small bite size, you should still cut them in half to get the basil and other flavors into the tomatoes.
You don't want the onion to overtake the other flavors, so put as much onion in that suits your taste. Some people don't use onions at all in their tomato basil salad.
Add as much basil as you like. The more basil the better for most people.
Make sure to use extra virgin olive oil only, otherwise, it just won't taste at all like it should.
If you can wait, put the tomato basil salad in the refrigerator to chill. This is an optional step as some people will actually prefer to eat it at room temperature, but one thing is for sure, it you let it sit for about 10-30 minutes, the flavors will get a chance to blend better- adding to the flavor.
Tomato basil salad is one of those recipes that you can vary to suit your own taste.
This may be more of a Sicilian variation since I learned from watching my mom make this salad. For a long time, I thought I was following my mom's recipe for tomato basil, yet it seemed like it was always missing something or just not as good. After questioning my mom about this a number of times, she finally told me what it was. Add more salt. That was it, just more salt.
When you add salt to a tomato basil salad, it seems like you may be putting too much salt, but for some reason, it's really hard to over do it with salt.
On some foods, if you add too much salt, you can immediately tell it's too salty and it can ruin the meal, but with tomato salad, you have to really over do it with the salt to notice.
If you happen to be in Southwest Florida, Charlotte County area, you must visit Carmelo's Italian Restaurant in Punta Gorda FL. Authentic Italian and Sicilian dishes and a great night out with friends or family. Carmelo's Italian Ristorante is not only the best Italian restaurant in Punta Gorda Florida, it's also one of the best restaurants in Charlotte County Florida.