all’Insalata –Pumaroru a ‘Nzalata”)
Ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, is important to metabolize protein, for collagen formation,
wound healing, iron absorption and immune function. Our system needs to consume foods that contain this
vitamin every day.
Tomatoes are a good source of the ascorbic acid; one medium size tomato contains 1/6 of the daily
value of the recommended Vitamin C, we need in our diet.
Tomatoes are considered a high acid food item and there are no "low acid" tomatoes. Those with a
sweet, non-tart taste are overripe tomatoes in which the taste of the acidity is masked by the higher sugar
contained in ripen tomatoes.
In Sicilian cookery, tomato salad is one of the simplest dishes to prepare and it uses few
ingredients; it is an excellent contorno, (side dish), and an exceptional lunch, when coupled with oven fresh
bread. In the preparation of this recipe the basic ingredients
are: vine-ripened tomatoes for their texture and intensely flavored taste, also use cold pressed extra virgin
olive oil for the fruity fragrance and low acidity, Mediterranean oregano for its pungent flavor and aroma,
sweet basil for its subtle essence, black pepper for its penetrating odor and its lightly hotness, and to
intensify the taste of the tomatoes, use freely coarse sea salt without being to parsimonious.
By the way, because the acidity of the ascorbic acid naturally contained in the tomato, in my family
and in many Sicilians families vinegar is not used; however some prefer to add a modest amount of lemon juice
or vinegar to give extra zest and flavor.
Some people enjoy adding sliced red onions or garlic for flavor and healthy benefits; these
vegetables, used since ancient times for their healing elements, can prevent and treat many sicknesses and
improve our health.
Garlic has a strong taste that some do not favor, if you are a garlic lover
chop it into the salad, otherwise you can get almost the same
benefits if you slice or crush the garlic and let it sit into the salad for a few minutes. Discard the sliced or
chopped garlic and use extra basil to neutralize the taste of garlic and create an outburst of odors from this
- 2 lb. tomatoes, preferably
- Coarse sea salt and black
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn up
Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut each tomato into 8 wedges and arrange in a serving bowl;
slice larger tomatoes into 10 wedges. If using Grape or Cherry tomatoes cut them in
Season with a few pinches of sea salt, add some pepper, and gently rub the oregano in your hands to
release its flavor and sprinkle it over; toss a few times. Let it stand a few minutes, add the olive oil,
give another toss and tear up the fresh basil leaves on top.
Serve with hot toasted Italian bread and a cold bottle of California sauvignon blanc or a Regaleali
Rose’, from sunny Sicily.