Summer Recipe: Tomato & Cucumber Salad with Sumac
By Anne-Marie Kovacs, Chief Wife
I discovered the now-my-favorite-spice when visiting Turkey a few years ago. We were served some variation of “tomato and cucumber salad” with sumac at every meal. I loved it. I knew I had tasted the spice before in Lebanese cooking but had never bothered to find out what it was. That is, until I got addicted on day 4 of the trip and then just had to know.
Sumac is an essential spice in Arabic cooking, greatly enjoyed for its tangy, sour and astringent taste. The Sumac berries are dried and crushed into a coarse dark purple-ish-red powder. Evidently, I bought a load of it at the Istanbul Spice Market to bring back home… To make tomato and cucumber salads, bien sûr.
You can buy Sumac at any Middle Eastern grocery store, at the Spice House (seriously LOVE that place) or find it on Amazon.com here. And it's not only delicious in salads. Use it as dry seasonings on meats and fish, on vegetables, rice and in sauces. Yummm.
I have been serving a lot of this could-not-be-more-simple summer salad of late, to great acclaim. So, now that Farmer's Market fresh tomatoes and cucumbers are rolling in, I thought that this was the perfect time to share the recipe.
You hardly even need to write it down:
Tomato & Cucumber Summer Salad for 4
- 4 chopped tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1/4 onion sliced paper thin
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sumac
- Salt to taste
Mix, let sit for about 5 – 10 minutes and serve. I guarantee that everyone will be going for a second serving. Yes. Guarantee it. I'm ready to take bets.