Simplicity is the word for tomato dishes

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If you've got a good tomato, the best thing to do to it is as little as possible.

Serving it raw and at room temperature allows you to appreciate the sweetly acidic taste of a great summer tomato. That doesn't mean you can't tart it up a bit. Just be sure to stick with flavors that have a natural affinity with tomatoes.

In the case of this recipe for tomato and red onion salad, that means olive oil, basil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. Wedges of fresh tomato are served drizzled with a rustic pesto and shavings of Parmesan. That's it.

Likewise, the tomato and feta crostini pairs diced and salted tomatoes with crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano. If feta is not your thing, swap it and the oregano with diced avocado and chopped fresh cilantro.

TOMATO AND ONION SALAD WITH PESTO

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

4 large slicing tomatoes (such as Beefsteak), cut into wedges

1/2 small red onion, diced

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves

4 cloves garlic

Parmesan cheese, for shaving

Arrange the tomato wedges on a platter or large serving plate. Sprinkle the diced onion over the tomatoes. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, basil and garlic. Pulse until mostly smooth. Drizzle the pesto over the tomatoes and red onions, then shave the Parmesan on top.

TOMATO AND FETA CROSTINI

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

5 plum tomatoes, diced

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

12-inch baguette, cut into thin rounds

Olive oil cooking spray

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Place the diced tomatoes in a mesh strainer or a colander. Add the salt and mix gently.

Set aside over a bowl or the sink to drain.

Heat the oven to broil.

Arrange the bread rounds on a rimmed baking sheet.

Spritz the bread with the olive oil cooking spray, then broil on the bottom rack until just lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Transfer the tomatoes to a medium bowl, discarding any juices that have drained out. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and oregano, mixing gently.

Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each bread round, then top with crumbled feta.

If desired, the crostini can be placed under the broiler for another minute or so to warm and lightly brown the cheese.


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