Ensalada Chilena is a simple summer Chilean salad made with fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, and cilantro. It is tossed in a light olive oil vinegar dressing. Chili peppers are occasionally diced and added for a little heat. Since there is a minimal amount of ingredients used in preparing this recipe, quality is key for best flavor. Use large, ripe tomatoes that have been kept at room temperature. Refrigerating damages to membranes of the tomatoes and causes a huge loss in flavor. This is the perfect salad to accompany your grilling menu this summer.
To make the raw onions less harsh, they are sliced paper thin, tossed with salt or sugar, and allowed to sit until they soften and release liquid.
Since I only needed to peel a couple of tomatoes, I just used a sharp knife. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to boil them for about 30 seconds, then immediately transfer to a bowl filled with ice water. Once cool enough to handle, the skin can easily be peeled off.
Ensalada Chilena (Chilean Tomato and Onion Salad)
Adapted from Eat Wine
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon salt or sugar
3 large ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Cut the onion in half and slice lengthwise as thinly as possible, paper thin. Place in a medium bowl, separating all the layers. Sprinkle with salt or sugar and toss. Let sit until softened and liquid has been released, about 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and squeeze out excess liquid.
Peel the tomatoes and slice each into about 8 wedges.
Arrange the tomatoes among serving plates or on a platter. Top with the prepared onion slices. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to combine.