Recipe: Tall Greek Tomato Salad

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The ingredients of this Greek salad are traditional but the preparation is unique. Tomatoes with the stems still attached are readily available in supermarkets.

4 servings

Lemon–Olive Oil Dressing

Tomato Salad

For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

For the salad: Cut around the stems of the tomatoes with a paring knife and reserve the stem "caps" to place back on the tomatoes. Cut a small slice from the base of the tomatoes so they will sit flat after stuffing. Cut each tomato horizontally into 5 slices, each about 1/3 inch thick. (They should be cut and arranged so that the slices can be reassembled later.)

Place a bottom slice from each tomato in the center of each of four salad plates. Cover each slice with some of the cucumber slices and a slice of onion and sprinkle with fleur de sel and a little dressing. Place the second consecutive slice from each tomato on top of the first. Cover with some of the feta slices and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of dressing over the cheese. Add the third slice of tomato and cover with cucumber slices, onion, and a little more dressing. Add the fourth tomato slice and cover with feta cheese and a dash of dressing. Finish by adding the last tomato slice, with the hole from the missing stem. Reinsert the stems for a nice presentation.

Divide the olives and any remaining cheese or cucumber among the plates, scattering them around the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with some fleur de sel and any extra dressing, garnish with oregano leaves, and serve cool but not cold.

Episode 207: Layered Elegance

Jacques shows his daughter Claudine how presentation can make a simple, traditional dish truly elegant by layering feta, cucumber, and onion with tomato slices to make his Tall Greek Tomato Salad. Poached Salmon in Sour Cream-Herb Sauce follows as Jacques reveals his father's dislike of olive oil to Claudine. Together they make a variation of his mother's recipe, Stew of Peas and Carrots -- a meal in itself! Dessert is pure simplicity in Sweet Riccota Gâteaux with Peach Sauce.

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Minute Recipe: Rice Paper Rolls with Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato

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Rice papers, or spring roll wrappers, are transparent brittle disks made of rice flour. They're available at Asian markets, specialty stores, and some supermarkets. They need only 45 seconds to a minute to rehydrate in water, making them soft, pliable, and usable for quick hors d'oeuvres. They can be stuffed with shrimp, fish, meat, and vegetables, as well as cheese, ham, olives, or nuts; use whatever you have on hand.

Wet 16 dried rice papers under cold tap water. Set them aside for a minute to soften. Peel and pit 1 avocado and cut it into 16 wedges. Drain and set aside 16 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves. Peel 4 scallions and cut them into 3-inch pieces. Lay the rice papers flat on the table and top each with a wedge of avocado, a sun-dried tomato half, 1 sprig fresh cilantro, and a few pieces of scallion. Sprinkle a little salt and a dash of Tabasco hot pepper sauce on each. Fold the vegetables inside the soft rice papers, bringing the sides in to make a tight, compact roll. Serve.

4 servings