Summer is the time to enjoy delicious red tomatoes. In winter, we are bereft. What you see in the supermarket are mealy, bland versions packed in cellophane. They are tasteless and meager. Summer comes, and tomatoes, fresh and ripe, are in profusion again. One of my favorite varieties is heirloom tomatoes. They are plentiful now. The only problem I see with heirlooms is that they have shorter shelf-life than other commercial tomatoes. But that’s no problem in the Rivera household.We eat the tomatoes as soon as we get them, knowing that come winter, we’ll be in the doldrums again.

I use heirlooms in various ways, from sauces to entrees; but mainly in salads, as is called for in this season. Recently I was at the farmer’s market and I saw some Swiss chard. Now, truthfully, I am not familiar with this green. I heard it’s considered one of the most nutritious vegetables around, ranking second only to spinach. And I’m willing to experiment. So I decided to whipped up a tomato and Swiss chard salad, just for the hell of it. And it came out pretty good. To the mix I added an avocado, which are also in profusion right now. The result: an easy, quick and delicious meal. With a crusty bread and a light wine, you can’t go wrong.  


1 bunch Swiss Chard

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 small tomatoes, ripe but firm
1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions

1. Rinse the Swiss chard under cold running water; and tear into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a deep skillet or pan, bring 2-3 quarts water to a boil. Add the Swiss chard and cook for 1-2 minutes. Immediately rinse in cold water and drain on paper towels.
3. Make the marinade: in a bowl, combine the olive oil and vinegar. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Stir to to mix.
4. Wash the tomatoes and cut into small wedges. Add to marinade and let stand 10-15 minutes.
5. Place the Swiss chard in a platter or salad bowl. Pour some of the tomato marinade over them. Dress by layering tomatoes and avocado. Season with the remaining marinade. Sprinkle with scallions and serve. 
   Yield: 4 servings.