Recipe Source: Alford, Jeffrey and Naomi Duguid. Flatbreads & Flavors: A Baker's Atlas. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995 p. 131.
My husband gave me this wonderful book for Christmas. I'm in love with it already. I love reading the stories that go along with the recipes, and I love (most of) the recipes. I was very excited to start cooking from the book as soon as we got back from our Christmas visit to my family. Unfortunately, I was feeling far too sick to actually go to the grocery store. I chose a recipe that could be made from ingredients I had on hand, with a little bit of adaptation, and that needed to be used up quickly.
I didn't have any actual whole ginger on hand. What I had was galangal, which is related to ginger. It is not the same thing. It is much, much harder. It is in fact so hard that we couldn't eat it raw. My husband also felt that the galangal was too strong a flavor and that it overpowered the tomatoes. Strictly speaking, this is true. The galangal did overpower the tomatoes. I had purchased the tomatoes the previous week to set out at our Christmas party, but as things turned out I didn't have time to make the dish for which I wanted them. Tomatoes are NOT IN SEASON in New England in December. When fresh tomatoes are not in season, they tend to have very little flavor if any at all. I think that fresh, local tomatoes, preferably picked from our garden, would have stood up just fine to the strong flavor of galangal. I didn't have quite as many tomatoes as required by the recipe, but that was okay. I also substituted cilantro for the mint, as my husband is allergic to mint. Finally, I didn't have a banana chile on hand. I used a single Thai chile to give a little bit of that chile flavor to the dish.
Despite the difficulty of eating the galangal in its raw state, the salad actually tasted pretty darned good. The galangal infused the lime juice with some of its flavor, the cilantro matched well with the other flavors.
Tomato and Galangal Salad (serves 4; approx. $1.32/serving)
1 3" piece of fresh galangal, peeled and sliced as thin as humanly possible
1 Thai chile, sliced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound mixed "gourmet blend" cherry tomatoes
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Serving bowl
- Non-reactive medium bowl
- Put the galangal slices and chile in the medium bowl.
- Add the lime juice and half the salt.
- Let stand, tossing occasionally, 20 minutes.
- Halve the tomatoes and put into the serving bowl.
- Add the remaining salt, the pepper and the cilantro.
- Add the galangal, chiles and lime juice.
- Toss well to coat.