tomato, feta and dill salad

Image: Olaiya Land

Hello lovely people!
I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start. Things are feeling very summery around here. We’re having a Seattle heatwave (temps above 80°!) and people are hunkered down with their freshly-purchased air conditioners, freezers stocked full of ice cream and cases of rosé. (Ok, maybe that’s just us.) 
Last night we had friends over for a casual backyard barbecue. In line with my no-stress dinner party policy, I just threw a bunch of vegetables and sausages on the grill, opened a few bottles of wine and tossed together this easy-peasy 4-ingredient tomato salad.
I hope you won’t think me bossy if I say you should, too. 

Tomato feta and dill salad_June 2017-7.jpg

I first had this deceptively simple salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. I was a bit underwhelmed when it was placed in front of me. It didn’t look like much after all the flaky, buttery excesses of the culinary tour I’d just led.
But as I took my first bite, I understood that the chef had done that very French thing that young chefs are doing all over Paris. He had taken a few simple ingredients, combined them in an unconventional manner and let their utter perfection do the talking. 
This salad was so far greater than the sum of its parts. It was refreshing, earthy, salty, creamy and faintly sweet all at the same time. It tasted like summer. 

Image: Olaiya Land

I knew instantly this comes-together-in-five-minutes-and-goes-with-everything salad would be the new workhorse of my summer suppers. And so far it has been. I’ve had it with Lebanese spiced chicken and cucumber-yogurt salad. With spicy grilled shrimp. With a soft boiled egg and a slice of toast. All within the last two weeks! 
So, friends, track down the very best ingredients you can find and give this refreshing little tomato salad a go--your summer will thank you!

Image: Olaiya Land
Image: Olaiya Land

Tomato, Feta and Dill Salad

  • 1 pint ripe cherry or other small tomatoes
  • Feta cheese, (preferably a creamy, not-too-salty variety)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh dill
  • Flaky sea salt
Image: Olaiya Land

*Notes: Today I’m giving you a non-recipe sort of recipe. There’s not really any right or wrong way to combine the ingredients in this dish. If you love dill, sprinkle on a little extra. If olive oil’s your thing, pour it on! The key is simply to track down the best ingredients you can manage. Sweet, perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes. Fresh dill. Creamy, not-too-salty feta (My go-to is Valbreso). And the best olive oil and sea salt you can get your hands on. That’s most of the work done.
- For all you dill haters out there, I feel you. Dill was not, until recently, an herb I was particularly fond of. But there’s something magical about the combination of dill and tomatoes that makes it all ok. It’s the dill that provides a faintly sweet and sour complexity to this salad, so I encourage you to try it. But no hard feelings if you’re not into it--you can always substitute another herb such as mint (I love tomato and mint together), fennel fronds, and/or summer savory. A few finely snipped chives would be nice, too.
- And just in case your mamma never told you, raw tomatoes never, ever (ever!) go in the fridge. It turns their texture mealy and mutes their subtle sweetness. Store them in a single layer on your countertop or other cool location.


Slice the tomatoes in half and arrange them on a serving platter. Crumble some feta over the top and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle some dill fronds and salt over the top just before serving.
Makes 3-4 side-dish servings.