In Lecce, Italy, Dana Jacobi enjoyed an antipasto of tomato wedges and raw onions, combined with capers and olives.

As author of the 12 Best Foods Cookbook and a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life, she came up with her own spin on the dish, substituting “the tasteless tomatoes currently available” for kitchen-ripened plum tomatoes, which she cut into thick rounds.

“A red Spanish onion provides just the right zing,” Jacobi says. “A yellow one is too harsh, while a sweeter variety lacks the necessary pungency.

“In Italy, capers packed in salt are as common as those pickled in vinegar,” she adds.” If you can find them, their sharper tang is ideal. Kalamata olives are Greek, but they add the kind of bold flavor you want.”

All of the ingredients in our weekend recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Tomato and Onion Salad

Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings

2 tablespoons small capers
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 red Spanish onion, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
4 large plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pitted Kalamata or Alphonse olives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

If using salted capers, soak them in 1/2 cup cold water for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse and use a paper towel to pat the capers dry. If using pickled capers, just rinse and pat dry.

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add salt and the onions. Reduce the heat and simmer until the onions are flexible but still al dente, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, and then pat dry on paper toweling; place the onions in a medium mixing bowl.

Trim off the stem and tip ends of the tomatoes, and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch slices; add the tomatoes to the onions. Add the capers, oregano and olive oil. Cut the olives lengthwise into strips and add them to the salad.

Using a fork, toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set the salad aside for 20 to 30 minutes to marinate and let flavors meld. Serve at room temperature.

Per serving: 44 calories, 4 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 308 mg sodium

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research