Stem the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Core the larger tomatoes and cut them into slices or wedges.
For the vinaigrette, macerate the shallot in the vinegar with the garlic and a little salt. Whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust the acidity and salt as necessary. Put the tomatoes in a shallow salad bowl or on a platter. Season with salt and pepper, strew on the chopped basil leaves, and carefully dress with the vinaigrette.
Thin slices of peeled lemon cucumber and torpedo onion are wonderful additions to the salad.
For a more elegant tomato salad, slice perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a platter. Season with salt and pepper, a splash of good Champagne, and a generous drizzle or extra-virgin olive oil.
Recipe courtesy of Alice Waters