Cucumber Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Happy Friday Fellow Foodies!

Today is very hot here in the Antelope Valley region of the Mojave desert. We get lots and lots of days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit from June through September, and on those day salad is what's on my menu. Last evening my Bon Apetite came in the mail and it was full of amazing tomato recipes. This got me craving tomatoes, but all I had on hand were 3 smallish Roma tomatoes from my local Winco. Winco has amazingly beautiful produce. But I had bought these tomatoes quite some time ago and had not gotten around to eating them, as I have been in and out of town enjoying my summer vacation. These poor little Romas had lingered a bit too long in the back of my produce bin and were a bit "mealy". So-my dilemma today was that I wanted something tomato-ish, all I had was some sad looking, forgotten about Romas, and I didn't have time to run out for fresh produce.

What to do, what to do? Enter....the Tomato Vinaigrette!
I tossed this dressing with some cucumber "noodles", fresh Parmesan Reggiano, and grated carrots for texture and sweetness. Here is the recipe:

Cucumber Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

for the dressing:
3 Roma (or whatever you have) tomatoes-quartered
2-3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. Kosher(or table or sea) salt
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic-peeled
1/2 cup very good quality olive oil
4-5 basil leaves minced
Pepper to taste

Put the first 5 ingredients into a blender. Puree the hell out of it for about 3 minutes. With the machine running drizzle the oil through the chute. Once you have all the olive oil in the dressing, pour it into a medium bowl and add the basil, stir gently and allow to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before using. Taste adjust the salt and sugar-and add pepper.

For the salad:
1 cucumber (any kind)
1 small carrot peeled and grated
5 lettuce leaves
Parmesan Cheese-shaved
Using a wide veggie peeler slice your cuke into 'ribbons'. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of a large dinner plate. gently toss the cukes, carrots, and cheese together and add a little dressing. Toss very gently and arrange on the lettuce leaves. Serve garnished with more cheese and carrots on top.

OTHER USES FOR TOMATO DRESSING
1. Dressing for pasta salad
2. drizzle over brochette
3. mix in a few capers and spoon over grilled seafood, chicken, or pork
4. marinade for poultry or pork
5. mix 1 Tbs into 1/4 cup mayo and use as tomato mayonnaise
The possibilities are endless!!!!

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