San Marzano tomatoes are considered by many to be the premier plum tomato in the world. They originate in the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, outside of Naples, Italy. Here, in the rich volcanic soil surrounding Mount Vesuvius, Italian farmers have grown this variety of tomato for centuries. Today, the tomatoes are world-renowned, and farmers ship them around the globe to chefs and gourmet consumers. San Marzanos are considered to be sweeter and less acidic than other plum tomato varieties. They also have fewer seeds, their skins are easy to remove, and the flesh is meatier than other varieties, making them an ideal tomato for both sauce making and canning.
While they aren’t grown in Italy, Brittany Kordick of Contrarian farm is putting her hand to the famed San Marzano tomato this season. We will be featuring her San Marzano tomatoes along with another famous Italian ingredient, the Tropea Onion, in a simple but delicious Calabrian-style Italian summer salad next week. This salad recipe kit offers a unique opportunity to experience two world-renowned Italian ingredients, grown here in NC by our own local farming community. We hope you enjoy the salad, and also take the time to appreciate the history behind the ingredients, and the people who brought them to us hundreds of years ago, as well as today!
San Marzano & Tropea Onion Salad:
A favorite from the Calabrian region of southern Italy! This easy, summer salad combines firm ripe roma (San Marzano) tomatoes, sweet red Tropea onions, chopped basil, chopped garlic, and a touch of oregano with fresh lemon juice and olive oil in a delightful summer salad that has all the taste of southern Italy!
• 2 San Marzano red tomatoes
• 2 yellow roma tomatoes
• 1 Tropea red onion
• 1/4 tsp. salt, more to taste
• 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, more to taste
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 12 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into strips)
• 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1. Slice San Marzano and yellow roma tomatoes into circles (1/4 inch thick). Place in a bowl.
2. Peel and cut red onion in half. Slice one half into 1/8 inch thick slices. Add onion slices to tomatoes. Reserve other half of onion for another use.
3. Sprinkle salt over tomato and onions. Toss gently and let sit for about 10 minutes or while you prepare dressing.
4. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic in a bowl. Mix well.
5. Place tomatoes and onions in a serving bowl. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil dressing over the vegetables. Add chopped basil, oregano, pepper, and toss gently. Add additional salt and/or lemon juice to taste. Serve!