In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup vinegar, sugar and star anise. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly; stir in onion. Let stand for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, cheese, herbs and serrano pepper. Remove star anise from onion mixture; drain onion, reserving 2 tablespoons marinade. (Discard remaining marinade or save for other use.) Add onion to tomato mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lime juice and peel and remaining vinegar; pour over tomato mixture. Drizzle with reserved marinade; toss gently to coat. Season with salt if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings.