Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Saturday with not just any Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes, burrata, fresh made croutons and fresh herbs.  Happiness!
I was going to my sister and brother-in-law's for a BBQ and decided i had to give the heirloom tomatoes another try; they're everywhere i look.  Perhaps i was disappointed with them earlier in the summer, it may have just been too soon.  I decided to make a salad inspired by a recipe in Suzanne Goin's, Sunday Suppers at Lucques.  Actually, my salad was more than "inspired", it was the salad from Suzanne Goin's cookbook, other than mine had all large heirlooms chopped - no baby tomatoes and no slices.

Fresh organic heirloom tomatoes, opal basil and bermuda onions

First thing Saturday morning I ventured to the Santa Monica farmers market.  This is one serious farmers market.  Usually i go on Thursday to the Century City market, but you can't compare them.  I guess it's also two very different crowds and needs.  But i have a new home for Saturday mornings.  I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the varieties the Saturday organic market offers.  Cheese!  I actually bought curds and don't have to make my own.  I bought some beautiful blackeyed beans in different color hulls.  Let's see if i can remember to photo them before cooking.  If so, you'll see these beauties soon.

The salad was delicious!  As my father said, "it's a hit!"  The dressing is one that i'll have to make for a variety of salads.  It was easy and has a perfect punch for those times you want something a bit more than olive oil & balsamic, yet it didn't distract from any of the deliciousness that the tomatoes, the croutons or the creamy burrata brought to the dish.  In fact, my mother was wowed by the dressing and said she would love some to have for other salads.  Yes, i'll now have to find some cute bottles to make this dressing even more special.

Here's the recipe with my adaptations --

  • 1/3 loaf rustic white bread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, assorted sizes, shapes, and colors
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 2 tablespoons sliced opal basil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green basil
  • 2 pounds mozzarella cheese (I used mostly buffalo and a little burrata)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced bermuda onions or shallots
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salad Assembly -
Core the heirloom tomatoes.  Cut them into wedges or large chunks.  Season with the fleur de sel and some pepper.  Spoon a little of the vinaigrette over them, and scatter a little basil on top.

Cut the burrata and buffalo mozzarella into large chunks.
Add the thinly sliced onion.
Toss in the vinaigrette
Gently toss in the croutons.
Scatter the parsley and remaining basil leaves over the top of the salad.
Burrata!  My absolute favorite.

Directions for Croutons -
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Cut the crust off the bread (i like the crust, so i left the crust on) and tear the remaining loaf into rustic 1-inch pieces.  Using your hands, toss the pieces with 2 tablespoons olive oil, squeeze the bread gently to help it absorb the oil.  Toast on a baking sheet 12 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times, until the croutons are golden brown and crispy on the outside. 
Fresh made croutons

Directions for Vinaigrette -
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the oregano, garlic, and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt to a paste.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the vinegars.  Whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil and taste for balance and seasoning.  (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, place the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle the salt over it.  Using the side of your knife, smash the garlic and salt together until you get a paste.  Then cut the oregano very finely into the paste.)
The beginning of a delicious vinagerette

Bon appetito!

Thanks Audrie & Georg!  A happy bar-b-que was had by all.  Oops, until the kitchen sink decided it was too full and had enough!


  1. Hi Lori, When I saw your name, I got a big smile, we have a Aunt Lollie, you never hear that name! I love anything with heirlooms, can't wait to see more!

  2. Lori,
    The heirloom tomatoe salad was another absolute winner. How refreshing it is to have a different "spin" on a salad. The vinaigrette is wonderful and I have used it on salad twice this week. I just love it! I also used it on a sandwich I made on a french roll with turkey, avocado and baby lettuce. Delicious!! Keep on "feeding" us.

  3. Gina, your Aunt Lollie must be a wonderful person! Is her real name Lollie? And i must say, you have good taste in tomatoes. I have a good heirloom and bean dish coming later this week.

    Rho, so glad you like enjoyed the salad. I'll have more dressing and goodies this weekend!

    Happy Wednesday everyone!