The Porubiansky Family Tomato Salad features sliced tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and goat cheese. Chef tip: Drizzle a little balsamic or white wine vinegar to freshen this salad up. The Porubiansky family eats this one at least once a week in the summer.
The Summer Salad features chopped tomato, sliced cucumber, and sliced onion. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil. Chef tip: Add a splash of red wine vinegar to brighten up this salad.
Chef Daniel Porubiansky of Century House Tavern in Woodstock knows how to make a mean tomato salad.
He will be sharing his expertise Aug. 13 on WXIA-TV’s Atlanta & Company show.
The well-known local chef uses tomatoes, when in season, an assortment of ways, he said, whether for the restaurant or at home for his family.
“At Century House Tavern we use tomatoes in a variety of ways, but my favorite is just a simple salad of raw sliced tomatoes of as many varieties that I happen to have on hand at the time,” Porubiansky said. “This version is simple but perfect: drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper, then add a little fresh basil and voila.”
The chef advises that cooks taste each tomato and see the different characteristics of each one — sweetness, acidity level and flavor.
“It is a lot of fun and absolutely delicious. Add a little fresh cheese and you have a great little course. I personally like goat cheese, but you can use a variety of different types such as mozzarella or Pecorino,” he said.
With locally grown tomatoes reaching their peak, this is the perfect time to experiment.
“There really is no substitute for a garden fresh tomato. Chopped, diced, sliced, stewed, sautéed, grilled, braised, baked, raw, snack, appetizer, salad, entrée and for desserts” the chef said. “Tomatoes are one of my favorite things on the planet. Yes, I called it a thing because it is one of the most versatile vegetables. Or is it a fruit? I will let you debate and decide. You can’t go wrong playing and creating with them and this is the time of year while they are fresh.”
Porubiansky says he uses tomatoes for sauces, vinaigrettes, pastes, soups, and sorbets. He chooses among tomatoes that are all colors of the rainbow — red, yellow, orange, green, blue (the newest color), pink, striped, the list goes on and on.
They come in all sizes as well, including large, medium, small, and extra small (the rare and delicious currant). They can be sweet, sour, acidic, juicy, but the one thing they cannot be is dry, he said. And each one has its own individual flavor.
“They are currently in season and available in both your own backyard and your local farmers market,” the chef said.
While diners love the choices at Century House, tomatoes and tomato salads can be an easy side or snack at home as well.
“At home we often send our kids to school with healthy snacks in their lunch. One of those snacks they like best is cherry tomatoes from our garden and cucumber spears, both of which are in season, healthy and delicious,” Porubiansky said. “We also add them to kebobs for grilling on my days off from work.”
When the garden overflows with fresh tomatoes, it is a good time to preserve them for enjoyment throughout the year, he said.
Porubiansky will be making the pictured dishes on Aug. 13th on WXIA’s Atlanta & Company.