Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Salad

Some things that appear in the marketplace quickly become a fad; some of these are enjoyable for a while before fading away, while others end up staying because their value is apparent, clear, and real, and no one wants to live without them. Such is the case with heirloom fruits and vegetables.

I am sure that some odd things will appear, as when the obsession with overpriced “baby vegetables” produced the sorts of things serious gardeners would throw away (like leek thinnings), but these heirloom tomatoes are here to stay.

I have not tasted a yellow one that lives up to any of the green, purple, tie-dyed, rosy, and just plain red ones, but the tiny yellow cherry tomatoes are a miracle all by themselves.

The secret to tomatoes is salting them a few minutes (only) before eating them and, by the way, if you are using regular tomatoes, a sprinkle of sugar with the salt really helps to bring out “real” tomato flavors. And I don’t bother to remove the skin of heirlooms.

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Ingredients

  • 4–6 large Green Zebra heirloom tomatoes, depending on size
  • 24 very small yellow cherry tomatoes, such as the “sweet 100s”
  • Sea salt and freshly ground aromatic black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch rocket, washed, stemmed, spin-dried
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, washed, patted dry

Method

Using a paring knife, cut down around the stem cores of the green tomatoes and remove them. Slice the tomatoes ¼-inch thick crosswise, and put them in one layer in a flat draining pan, or on a wire rack set over a pan through which the tomato juices can drain but be saved. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a teaspoon of sea salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes.

Put the water from the tomatoes in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the rocket and basil. Put the cherry tomatoes in the bowl, and smash them with a fork or potato masher. Grind a teaspoon of pepper into the bowl, and then pour in the olive oil. Whisk to form an emulsion.

Add the rocket and basil and toss around in the dressing. Serve the slices of Zebra tomato on chilled plates. Put a mound of the rocket and basil on top of the tomato slices, and scatter the remaining cherry tomatoes and dressing around the plates.

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