It’s pouring with rain here in London as I write this, but in theory, it is SPRING.  Out with the soups, in with the salads.  

I rustled up Frankie’s salad on Wednesday night because I had all the fixings for it knocking around my fridge and countertop.  Easy, trad and delicious. It’s something that needs to be eaten on the day you make it really, for best texture but as usual I made LOADS and had some last night and might force myself to eat the rest today.  It’s not that it’s bad 2 days later, it’s just that old thing of not dressing a salad until you are about to eat it.

I can’t think about Frankie without pondering the mystery of my disappearing salad dressing bottle yet again…

This cute bottle disappeared from my work fridge and then turned up again FIVE YEARS LATER – with, what I could only assume was the same salad dressing in it.  I gave it a good clean and celebrated its return by making The Avalon House Salad from Frankie’s fab Italian Family Cookbook.

Took it into work and whaddya know?  It was PINCHED again.  Someone loves my salad dressings!  It turned up again a few weeks later and it won’t surprise you to hear that it’s never leaving my kitchen again.  I’ll take my salad dressing in contained in one of my collection of 100s of jam jars from now on.  I need a revisit from Heather (aka Bishop Brennan) for another jam jar amnesty!

She made me get rid of approximately 80 last time (I am not exaggerating) and they are beginning to swarm again…

I made about half Frankie’s salad, the whole caboose is 4-6 servings.

If you are a Frankie fan, watch this space, he’ll be featured in June’s Recipe of the Month slot!

Frankie Avalon’s Tomato, Cucumber and Basil Salad

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges

1/2 seedless (English) cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch rounds

1 small yellow or red onion, cut into thin half moons

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus a basil sprig, for garnish

Using a fork, whisk the vinegar and water together in a large bowl.  Add the salt and pepper and whisk to dissolve the salt.  Gradually whisk in the oil.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion and toss well.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Let stand for 10 to 30 minutes before serving.

Sprinkle in the chopped basil and toss to combine.  Garnish with the basil sprig and serve.

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