My favorite Italian “Salad”

Tomato Salami appetizer

This dish is a cool, refreshing combination of some of my very favorite foods… fresh tomatoes with salt, sweet basil right out of my garden, a drizzle of good olive oil, and some lovely pecorino-romano cheese shavings.

And, of course, an amazing salami. My personal favorites are finocchiona or sopressata from my beloved Olympia Provisions in Portland, Oregon.

Here’s what I do:

2 fresh vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes (firm), sliced 1/2 inch.
1 tsp. fine sea salt
2 Tbs. minced fresh sweet basil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 oz Pecorino-Romano, or asiago cheese, shaved.

Laying out the tomato slices in a single layer, assemble ingredients in the order listed, on a chilled platter or plate. Cover with plastic-wrap and let rest and cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve.

This is really three dishes in one. For a light, delicious appetizer, serve on a plate (as above) and allow guests to serve themselves. For an amazing salad, chop the sliced salami into matchsticks, and serve over a bed of arugula and baby spinach with a modest splash of vinaigrette…I like Balsamic, myself.

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Finally, for a tasty entree, plate up three of four pieces of each item, add some fresh ground black pepper, maybe a few roasted peppers, and enjoy with some freshly pan-toasted garlic bread, like these I made from a couple of leftover ciabatta rolls (recipe below).

Ciabatta garlic toast

Cut rolls in half, along the middle, then separate along the pre-cut line. Each whole roll will make 4 pieces of toast.

Heat 1 Tbs of butter, and 1 tsp. olive oil on a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter has stopped foaming, sprinkle the pan with a little garlic & parsley salt (I like Lowry’s), and toast the rolls, cut side down until crisp and golden.


Chef Perry