My new summer salad addiction is tomato-water vinaigrette. I keep all my scraps when I’m cutting tomatoes, and when I have a pound of them, I chop them up, add 1½ tablespoons salt, and put this in a fine strainer over a jar. After a few hours, the clear, vibrant tomato water has drained into the jar.
½ cup tomato water
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Banyuls (or champagne) vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine first three ingredients and taste for seasoning. The tomato water will be a bit salty, so you may not need more salt. Tomatoes vary through the season, so you should also taste to balance the acid and oil.
Make a green salad with “right-now” ingredients like tomatoes (save all scraps for your next batch of tomato water) and cucumbers. Add some cheese, a fresh milky type like burratta, ricotta, or Bellwether Crescenza. In addition to lettuce, I add a few leaves of spicy arugula, basil buds (which are so fragrant and wonderful), fresh green coriander seeds, or just-picked mint. Ladle some vinaigrette over the whole dish, then finish with a little coarse salt and pepper.