Alex Eats: Tomato and Ginger Salad

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Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

If you had asked me to make this salad combination a few years ago, I would have been horrified. Ginger and tomatoes may seem natural to some people, but to a closet Francophile, the ginger feels like a senseless crime against tomatoes. It took eating a salad with these elements to convince me I was wrong. I never considered the almost-spicy heat that ginger contains. I love fresh chiles with the sweetness of tomatoes and how ginger functions in virtually the same way. Celery also offers an amazing crunchy texture.

What kind of tomatoes do I use? I love all tomatoes and buy whatever looks best. I will admit, I particularly love Sungold tomatoes -- they are so sweet and have a great texture.

Tomato and Ginger Salad
Serves 4-6

Dressing:
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

Salad:
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, stemmed, washed, dried and cut in half
Kosher salt
¼ cup basil leaves, washed and dried

8 inner (yellow) stalks and leaves from 1 “head” of celery, cut into thin rounds

1.    Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil and ginger. Taste for seasoning.

2.    Assemble the salad: Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt. Use a pair of scissors to “snip” the basil leaves into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes with the dressing and the celery hearts. Serve immediately.

Note: This salad is also great spooned over slices of grilled bread.

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