Serves 4 to 6
Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to introduce the, at the time, highly suspect, tomato, to American gardens and tables. Most people still felt that if the things wouldn’t kill you, they at best, had no real food value. Jefferson grew them and served them in great profusion at Monticello, and he played a major role in popularizing them in the Untied States. He also grew several varieties of cucumber, which he was fond of combining with his fresh tomatoes to make salad. I have used heirloom tomatoes to make this salad since they are closer to the types Jefferson might have had in his garden than the types standardly available in markets today. Combined with cucumbers and fresh basal they make an excellent salad. This salad can travel for picnics and pot-lucks if you make the salad and carry the vinaigrette separately and dress the salad when you arrive at the event.
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Sweet & Hot Brown Mustard
About 4 pounds of a variety of heirloom tomatoes, including some miniature cherry and pear varieties.
1 long English cucumber
1 tablespoon Chiffonade of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Fresh, coarse ground black pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
Mix the first four ingredients together well and set aside until needed. Cut the tomatoes according to their size and shape. Cut the cucumber into thin rings. Leave about a quarter of the rings whole. Quarter the rest. Toss all gently with the basal and chives. Arrange on
a serving platter and just before serving, drizzle the vinaigrette over all, add the pepper and garnish with whole basil sprigs.