The Usual Suspects – Tomatoes, Olives And Mushrooms

Think of flavours you like when you’ve had a few beers. Toss them together with a bit of vinegar and a lot of olive oil. Chances are you’re on a winner.

Salads are marvellous because they are quick, they are made with the freshest of ingredients and, more often than not, they have come from a part of your brain you didn’t know existed. Fact is, that when you’re reasonably keen on cooking and eating, you’ll be filing away all sorts of things as you go through your normal day. Maybe a sandwich that presented a surprising mix of flavours; perhaps a nick-nack from a pre-wedding drink-up; perhaps a visit to the fridge late at night after a busy day at the office. Those moments make the subconscious. One day, you’ll bring them back, and pat yourself on the back and wonder: ‘Now how did I make up that?’ This is for one of those days.

1 dessertspoon balsamic vinegar

4 dessertspoons best olive oil

salt

black pepper

2 best tomatoes, sliced in half, then into eight slices per half

15 black olives, pitted and chopped into quarters – Choose the olive you like, from the deli you like, and stick with them. The ones I like best are the Ligurian or ni├žoise olives, rather tiny, with plenty of spirit.

4 mushrooms, skinned and stalked, and chopped finely

handful of chopped chives (or parsley, thyme or spring onions)

1

In a salad bowl, make the dressing, mixing the vinegar and the oil, and seasoning with the salt and black pepper.

2

Toss in the sliced tomato, chopped olives and chopped mushrooms, and mix gently with your hands, or a fork if you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty. Serve with a decent sprinkle of chopped chives, or whatever.