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20.8.12

HUNGARIAN TOMATO SALAD - PARADICSOM SALÁTA


It is not for me to critique other cooking sites, but there is a tomato salad on a well known Hungarian recipe site that is not “authentic”. The real thing is much, much simpler. I suppose it isn’t easy to withstand the cultural pressure and westernize what you personally deem simplistic. The only problem I have with that is then don’t call it “authentic”. Hungarian cuisine has lots of layered and complicated dishes; so I fail to see the wisdom in overcomplicating what is simple. And Hungarian tomato salad IS a simple dish, pared down to the most basic of elements. And yet it is full of flavour and freshness.

Once again the only requirement is giving it time, time which many people don’t have a lot these days. Dump a bag of prewashed salad into a bowl and pass the salad dressing and the salad is ready. Throw half a bag of precooked chicken chunks on the top and it’s a meal. The flavour of course is gone; it’s all been processed out. That is not how Hungarian cuisine works. Even the simplest of things like this salad needs time to develop. And when you give it time, it’s delicious. As a kid, I always drank the tomato infused brine that was ladled into my salad bowl. I still do it when it’s just darling and me. In company, I take my bowl to the kitchen and hide it behind the toaster. If my “bull cook” hubby doesn’t clear it away with the rest of the dishes, I drink it after my company is gone.

4-6 large ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes
1 batch of Hungarian Salad Brine

• Assemble the brine in the salad bowl.
• Wash the tomatoes and remove stems and the white core. Remove any blemishes.
• Cut the tomatoes into bite size segments with a sharp chef’s knife.
• Add them to the brine.
• Let the tomatoes soak in the brine for 2-4 hours at room temperature.
• Serve the salad with a serving ladle and with individual salad bowls.

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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