This recipe is from the Algarve, the southern-most region of Portugal and the one with the most Mediterranean influence. It is called salada montanheira in Portuguese and roughly translates into salad from or of the mountain. It is my favorite tomato salad recipe (just in time for those last heirlooms!) and I am sharing my dad’s version here.
Traditionally this recipe would be served as a side to wood-fire grilled fishes like sardines, mackerel, or horse mackerel. But I am sure you can serve it with grilled chicken just as well. I would also recommend boiling very small skin-on potatoes and then partially cutting each in half and drenching with good olive oil and sprinkling with flor de sal (serve them warm and no vinegar on this one…). The potatoes should be served next to but not mixed into the salad.
Mountain Tomato Salad
American Vinegar Works
2 or 3 ripe tomatoes
Half an onion
One small peeled cucumber
One fire roasted green bell pepper (make it yourself - please don’t buy these in a jar)
3 tablespoons of wine vinegar (Red or Rose)
6 tablespoons of olive oil
Fire roasting the green bell pepper is the most complicated part of this recipe and it is pretty easy because there is no fear you are going to accidentally burn it—in fact you have to burn it.
Wash a green pepper and keep it whole. Place the pepper on a BBQ or right on your stovetop gas burner. Turn the flame to high and let the pepper burn. Once the outer skin chars completely carefully rotate the pepper with tongs and repeat on all sides. Once the pepper is fully charred and slightly wilted drop it in a large bowl with cold water. In the sink with water running into the bowl rub the outer skin layer off of the pepper with your fingers until all the blackened skin has released. Remove the core and seeds from your pepper. You are now ready to use the roasted and cleaned pepper in your salad.
Cube (about ½ inch) the tomatoes and cucumber. Mince the onion and slice the pepper into small inch strips.
Combine all the ingredients with the salt, vinegar, olive oil, and a generous amount of oregano in a bowl. Taste and adjust salt and vinegar levels as desired. Serve salad as a side with potatoes (optional).