When we think of tomatoes, we usually have the same picture in mind – a smooth circular shape, approximately the size of a baseball, and most importantly, red. But if you have strolled through a local Farmer’s Market the past few years you might have noticed something new. Well, old actually. Heirloom tomatoes. Unlike their mass-produced cousins, these tomatoes are a rainbow of colors – bright yellows and oranges, multiple shades of reds, and purples that are almost black. They range from the size of a marble to more than a handful. Instead of being smooth, heirloom tomatoes have ridges like squat bell peppers and describing how they taste can sound a lot like someone describing a glass of wine. We use words like “sweet,” “smoky,” “rich,” and “complex,” but more than anything, heirloom tomatoes taste like summer.
Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad
Yields 2 quarts
For the Salad, You’ll Need:
- 3 cups of Heirloom tomatoes, vine ripened – different colors, cut into medium cubes
- 1 cup Heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, vine ripened
- 3-5 tbsp fresh basil, finely cut
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cut into medium cubes
- 1-4 tbsp white vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 whole lemons – squeeze for fresh juice
- Salt – to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper – to taste
For the Garnish, You’ll Need:
- Fresh chopped basil on top – as needed
- Lemon zest – optional
- Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle
- Chili flakes – optional, a couple of pinches
Method of Preparation
- In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients for the salad except the cheese and gently fold (mix). Do not add garnish yet.
- Fold in cheese gently.
- Season to taste
- Add garnish (as needed), serve and enjoy!
Serve this dish alongside or on top of freshly grilled bread seasoned with olive oil.
Adding shaved aged Parmesan cheese and balsamic glaze will give this dish a nice pop.
Chef Kyle Williams