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Crazy Good Tomato Salad

by gordon
There are things in this world  just made to go together: Beethoven and sonatas, kids and play, strawberries and cream, oysters and champagne and the list just goes on.
I feel the same way about the marriage of beautiful tomatoes, basil and bocconcini and even better if you can get yourself organised in time (Gordo you muppet!!) and get your hands on some beautiful buffalo mozzarella.
This recipe is a celebration of the humble tomato and its many varieties, and of how much we enjoyed the Tomato Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, last Sunday.
Tomato festival you say?? Yup, there were many a green thumb and straw hat spotted. The talks ranged from experts such as Costa from Gardening Australia to the one I really wanted to see on the common pests and disease control.
See, this year, my crop started O.K., but then failed, miserably. I’ve been pushing the bed too long and been breaking the cardinal rule about not planting in the same spot more than two years in a row… diseases hang around in the soil and then get you the next year!  ( this is what you have to do when you only have one veggie bed which is possum proof). My solution is to plant a heap of corn and lettuces in that bed and the tomatoes will go into pots next season. Onwards and upwards, I say!!


 So, what else was happening?? At the tomato tasting we tried about 14 different toms ( A small amount of the estimated 7500+ varieties around),The best tomato salad recipe checked out the ‘best in show’ (I’m entering next year, peoples), we missed the guided walks around the tomato vines and veggie plots at the #RBG, but checked out some great food stalls and a wonderful one, selling a fantastic range of heirloom tomatoes. It’s a great time at the moment to pick up some awesome toms from the farmers’ markets. IMG_4478
We got our hands on some Bavarian ox hearts, mortgage lifters, rainbows, black krims, yellow delicious and a white tomato.
The best tomato salad recipe
After that, proceed as follows:
Buy a shed load of tomatoes (try lots of different ones)
Pick a couple of good handfuls of basil from the garden (we’ve gone with the perennial basil – a bit more bite)
Half a handful of flat leaf parsley
Half a finely sliced red onion, soaked in balsamic vinegar (minimum 1 hour)
8-10 bocconcini balls or a tub of baby bocconcini
A handful of green Sicilian olives
A handful of large green olives


The best tomato salad recipe


1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
Healthy grind of pepper
Juice of a 1/4 lemon
2 pinches salt
1 tsp brown sugar
The best tomato salad recipe
Cut tomatoes up roughly into bite size chunks, rip up basil, cut baby bocc in half or slices depending on how large (rip the beautiful buffalo mozzarella into chunks if you’ve got it) throw on the olives and then toss, gently, with your hands to mix together. I like to make a really big salad so I’ve got lunch covered the next day, hence I dress each serving rather than the whole lot… More often than not the whole bowl gets eaten, regardless, but it’s the thought that counts, yeah?
The best tomato salad recipe
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and regularly do for that matter!!

About Gordon Eckel

Gordon Eckel, a foodie and (rock) wall climber extraordinaire. He worked in some of Sydney’s top restaurants, but decided that he liked cooking for his friends more, so ran away and joined the circus (aka managing Sydney nightclubs). Six years ago and after a few too many creamy pastas he weighed 105 kg with a ridiculously high cholesterol. He changed his eating ways, wore out a treadmill and dropped 25 kilos in three months. Now he is renown for cooking deceptively healthy food and for proselytizing about the marvels of the great Australian red.

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  1. this sounds just like something my Father in law and husband would just love. They would eat it as a meal in itself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So true! We often eat this by itself x

  3. This looks great. For some reason I’ve never thought to put olives in a tomato salad – will have to try it.

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