Tomatoes picked from my parents’ garden weren’t the last of the year. Fittingly, with this summer-like heat hitting the East Coast this past weekend, Roberto’s stand at the farmers market had a stunning display of cherry tomatoes. Pints of yellow, pink, purple and red tomatoes–some round, some oblong, all beautiful–covered one of the tables.
I wasn’t the only one trying to cling to summer (despite having a bag full of apples, pears and acorn squash from Clyde), and one woman said that her kids would eat the tomatoes like candy. That’s encouraging to hear–especially since I didn’t like tomatoes until a few years back, despite promising my mother, at the age of three, “I’ll like tomatoes when I’m four!” It’s a running joke in my family, but now, when tomatoes are good, they’re GOOD. And the rest of the year, they’re best avoided.
Three pints for $5 seemed a steal, and they’ll find their way into all my meals this week, along with the giant bags of beans in my next-to-last CSA box. I’ve shared a recipe in the past that uses both ingredients, a green bean salad with tomatoes and goat cheese. That’ll probably be tomorrow’s lunch.
Today, it’s another simple and flavorful salad that combines chickpeas with feta and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice. If you’re not familiar with the blend, popular blogger and cookbook author David Lebovitz wrote about a visit to a za’atar farm in Lebanon recently; it’s a fascinating read.
Tomato, Chickpea and Feta Salad
From Fine Cooking
- 3 oz. feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp. za’atar
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. cherry, grape, or pear tomatoes, halved
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
In a small bowl, mix together the feta, za’atar and crushed red pepper flakes. Add 1 Tbs. of the oil and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Put the tomatoes in a large bowl. Stir in the chickpeas and season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds black pepper. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the vinegar. Stir in the feta, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.