This salad is a huge tradition in my family. Well, the American side of my family, which would be my dad’s side. My dad was born & raised by Czech parents in New Jersey in the 40s-50s. He lived in the city, where the neighborhoods were unintentionally divided by ethnicity, and went to a catholic boys school. You can imagine the mish-mosh of people living in Trenton/Roebling at that time. Italian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian… Needless to say, the family-owned markets in New Jersey are chock full of ethnic goodies.
To no ones surprise, my dad’s brother met & married an Italian woman whose family was straight off the daggone boat, kinda like my mom & her family. What can I say, my dad & uncle had a thing for foreign girls. This Italian woman became my aunt Linda and her Italian cooking skills are so far off the chains, words cannot describe the happiness I feel when I eat some of her baked ziti & cucumber-tomato salad. Her salad recipe trickled on down to my mom, who has made it for as long as I can remember (with a slightly Asian variation) and my mom has passed it on to me.
It is, by far, my favorite salad ever and it’s SUPER simple to make. My aunt uses red wine vinegar and my mom uses rice wine vinegar, so, the choice is up to you. I usually lean towards rice wine, only because it’s slightly sweet & that’s what my mom always used. The real key to this is the OREGANO! Any time I make this salad for cookouts or parties, it’s always a hit. Hope you & your family will enjoy it as much as we do!
- 2-4 perfectly vine ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded & diced
- ⅓ cup Vidalia or sweet onion, diced
- 3 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar OR red wine vinegar
- 5-6 tbsp good olive oil
- 2 tsp honey (preferably raw - may need more if using red wine vinegar)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Black olives with pits (opt.)
- Mix and serve! Let marinate for 15-30 mins before serving, refrigerated & covered, for best flavor.