Early summer salad of shaved Vidalias, crisp bread, cucumber, tomato, basil, feta, and olives 

 

You might say this is Greek or Italian, but to me this is also all about the American South in the summer. Southern food should be a reaction to what is growing outside in your vicinity, and when the Vidalias are in season and the tomatoes are bursting off their vines, then it is time for this wonderful salad. 

First lets talk about the grain of a Vidalia onion. An onion has a top, and a root end. Picture those as the north and south poles. The grain runs LONGITUDINALLY in arcs from pole to pole. You want to cut the onion at the equator and then shave it into large rings against the grain. I use a mandolin for this, but you can use a knife. Just make the rings very thin. If the onion is too large for the mandolin then you can cut it in half from pole to pole and then shave against the grain, resulting in half rings. 

 

2 cups torn sourdough bread 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 large Vidalia onion, shaved against the grain

Salt to taste

½ cup simple vinaigrette 

2 cups diced cucumber

1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cored and diced

1 cup fresh basil leaves 

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, halved

 

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Toss the bread with the olive oil and place on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside. 

Place the shaved onions in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt, and half of the vinaigrette. Toss well. 

Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, feta, and olives to the bowl of onions. Season with a pinch more of salt and add the toasted bread. Toss well and arrange on a platter. 

 

Simple Vinaigrette

6 tablespoons olive oil 

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 whole clove garlic, peeled and smashed a bit

½ teaspoon Kosher salt 

Combine all in a jar that has a lid. Secure lid and shake vigorously. Set aside. Shake before use. Fish out the garlic before you use the vinaigrette. 

 

Get the lastest news straight in your inbox.