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  • Writer's pictureNonnas Kitchen Chair

Nonna's Summer Tomato-Potato-Cucumber Salad

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

My Nonna made this salad with fresh garden vegetables and herbs . Olive oil was delivered to the ranch regularly. She grew her own garlic and onions. The one flavor I will never forget is her vine-ripened tomatoes. I would sometimes go out with a salt shaker and sit in the dirt next to a plant, plucking, and eating fresh tomatoes as a snack. She didn't feed us candy or chips and we didn't really miss them - not with those tomatoes and all the fresh fruit from the orchard. That's where I developed a fondness for raw veggies, too - green beans, peppers, and cucumbers, of course. But I digress. On to the recipes. It's quite simple...

My Nonna made this salad frequently during the summer and hers was made with fresh tomatoes, purple onions, boiled "new" potatoes (versus "baking" potatoes - I only remember two kinds back in the '40's), fresh herbs, that good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Nonno's wine vinegar. She sometimes added fresh cucumbers, too. Here is what I do when I'm preparing ingredients in advance for taking to a picnic or potluck. Obviously, you can vary the ingredients to suit your taste.


1 pound sweet ripe cherry tomatoes (washed, dried and placed in covered container)

2 fresh, crisp, English or Persian cucumbers (washed, sliced and placed in covered container). If using large cucumbers with seeds, it's best to scoop out the seeds. My Nonna never did, but current taste is different.

1/2 -3/4 pound Yukon Gold or other boiling potato )washed, boiled until just tender, cooled quickly, peeled, dried off, and rubbed with a little extra virgin olive oil to prevent outer layer from drying out. Store in separate covered container.

1/2 - 3/4 point small green beans (washed, cut into 1 inch pieces, boiled for 4-5 minutes, quickly cooled in ice water bath, dried and stored in covered container.

1 medium red onion, sliced or chopped according to your preference, and stored in covered container or zip-lock bag.

3 T Fresh Basil: Washed, water mostly removed (gently) and placed in a plastic bag with paper towel. Do not seal completely. (Alternatively, Fresh Oregano is also good.)

4-5 T of the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil you can afford

2 T of good red wine vinegar

sea salt to taste

Before serving time/Making the Salad:

Slice cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Slice potatoes in thick slices. Place leaves of basil in stack and gently slice the stack thinly. Place all in a large serving bowl along with sliced cucumbers, onion, green beans. Whisk oil and vinegar together with a little salt and pour over salad. Sprinkle some fresh ground pepper and toss gently.

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