Fresh, juicy summer tomatoes make a great salad, so we set out to create one with complementary flavors and a creamy dressing.
Tomatoes exude lots of liquid when cut, which can quickly turn a salad into soup. To get rid of some of the tomato juice without losing all the valuable flavor, we looked to a method that had proven successful in our other tomato salad recipes: salting the tomatoes before making the salad.
Simply cutting the tomatoes into wedges, tossing them with salt, and letting them sit for 15 minutes provided enough time for the juice to drain. This also seasoned the tomatoes and their juice at the same time. We reserved a measured amount of the flavorful juice to add to the dressing without watering down the salad.
Greek yogurt laid the foundation for a creamy, spice-infused dressing, and we boosted its tang with lemon juice and the reserved tomato juice. To that we added fresh oregano, cumin and garlic, but some tasters found the cumin and garlic too harsh.
A quick zap in the microwave was all it took to effectively bloom the spice and cook the garlic, successfully mellowing their flavors. We tossed the tomatoes with the dressing, finishing with just the right amount of briny feta to add richness and another layer of flavor.
Both regular and low-fat Greek yogurt will work well here; do not use nonfat yogurt. The success of this recipe depends on ripe, in-season tomatoes.
Tomato Salad With Feta and Cumin-Yogurt Dressing
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2½ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 scallion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
Toss tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt and let drain in colander set over bowl for 15 to 20 minutes.
Microwave oil, garlic and cumin in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool slightly. Transfer 1 tablespoon tomato liquid to large bowl; discard remaining liquid. Whisk in yogurt, lemon juice, scallion, oregano and oil mixture until combined. Add tomatoes and feta and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 104 calories; 54 calories from fat; 6 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 13 mg cholesterol; 338 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 5 g protein.