I had a stash of beautiful garden-ripened tomatoes on my counter and I wanted them in a cold salad to go with our dinner one evening. Frankly I’m tired of seeing Caprese salad every time I turn around on the internet. That’s so tired and overdone. Slice, slice, slice eat. You don’t need a recipe for that.
In my search I saw plenty of those salads, and others that had tomatoes and cucumbers sliced or diced so big you can only get one single piece of veg on a fork and into your mouth at a time. I wanted to be able to enjoy a medley of veg at once. Is that too much to ask for? Nicely chopped, smaller bits with a dressing that isn’t a simple oil and vinegar drizzle. I wanted something between Caprese and salsa-sized.
The first picture that caught my notice in my Google image search was from the Food Network site. Shades of my P.S.! The FN site is his go-to source for recipes when he wants to cook something new. But the word buttermilk intrigued me; I’m a sucker for buttermilk in anything. Coffee cakes, puddings, dressings- you name it. I might hate any kind of milk on its own, but actually mixed in something, I’m there!
The recipe called for cherry tomatoes, and I left them listed in the recipe below, but I had several sizes including Roma so I used a colorful variety of tomatoes in the salad. They were all so super ripe they were almost falling apart but they still were delicious.
I diced the tomatoes into about 1” pieces. I put them into a bowl and finely diced about a ¼ cup of green onion since I didn’t have any shallots.
I added the spices to the bowl instead of the buttermilk. It was all going to end up in one bowl anyway, the mistake wasn’t a deal breaker.
In a small bowl I whisked the buttermilk and sour cream together. When it was smooth I poured it over the veggies and mixed well. I refrigerated the salad until dinner was ready, then plated it separately in small serving bowls. It was so pretty I drooled in anticipation.
The simple buttermilk dressing was a nice choice for the rich, sun-ripened tomatoes. It helped neutralize the more acidic tomatoes. I’ve often made a buttermilk dressing for cucumbers but never thought to toss in tomatoes. I’d try to remember that from now on! It was a great mix.
I rarely have fresh basil on hand, so I’d used a teaspoon of dried basil. Letting the salad set for a short time before eating served to hydrate the basil and it was able to blend with the other flavors. The next day it was even more of a presence, in a good way, in the leftover salad.
The next day I cut up another large tomato and a cucumber and tossed them with the leftover buttermilk salad and it was delicious with dinner. The herbs and seasoning had blended into the dressing more and it was even more flavorful than before.
Buttermilk Tomato Salad
6 cups red and/or yellow tomatoes; cut into 1” pieces
¼ cup red onion; finely diced (or a shallot, or green onions)
2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced basil (I used 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic; minced (I used ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
Put the tomatoes and onion into a bowl.
Mix the buttermilk, sour cream and seasonings until smooth.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix. Test for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Refrigerate for an hour before serving if using dried herbs.
Makes 4 servings
Adapted from the Food Network