This is an incredible tomato salad that will wow you and your guests yet is so very simple. Seeing as the main ingredient is tomatoes, it is very important to use a mixture of beautiful, different, tasty, local (if possible) tomatoes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Try and use at least two or three very large red tomatoes such as coeur de boeuf or beefsteak tomatoes as a base then add some green tomatoes, such as green zebra, yellow tomatoes, orange tomatoes, black kumato tomatoes and a few red cherry tomatoes for size and texture. The more variety you have the nicer your salad will look.
Many people insist that you should never place your tomatoes in the refrigerator, unless they will be used for cooking. Tomatoes should always be kept on the counter-top as cold kills the flavour they say, but who wants to throw out tomatoes after a day or two because they are rotten. I agree that tomatoes should be kept out if at all possible and especially for this recipe, do not use tomatoes that have been refrigerated.
- If at all possible, buy only as many perfectly ripe tomatoes as you can eat within a day or two, keep them stored stem-side-down on a flat surface at room temperature, and make sure to eat them all within the first day or two.
- If you buy under-ripe tomatoes, leave them out at room temperature until fully ripened, then move them to a cooler spot for longer storage.
- If you have a wine fridge or cool cellar, store all ripe tomatoes that you can’t eat within the first day there.
- If you don’t have a wine fridge or cool cellar, store all ripe tomatoes that you can’t eat within the first two to three days in the refrigerator.
- If storing tomatoes in the refrigerator, it may be better to locate in the warmest section of the fridge.
- Allow the tomatoes to come to room temperature before using.
Serves 4 to 5
2 coeur de boeuf or beefsteak tomatoes
2 black tomatoes (kumato or noires de Crimée)
2 green zebra tomatoes
2 yellow tomatoes (ananas or pineapple)
1 red tomato (roma or marmande)
8 red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 echalote (shallot), diced very finely
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel
4 to 5 purple basil leaves, torn into pieces
Preheat the oven to 60 C / 120 F
Wash and dry all the tomatoes carefully
Cut the coeurs de boeuf, black kumatos and red marmande to a thickness of about 4 mm / 1/6″ and set aside
Cut the green zebra tomato into 6 petals (in half and then each half into 3)
Place the pieces in a bowl with the oil, vinegar and thyme and allow to marinade for 30 minutes
Skin the yellow tomatoes, (place in boiling water for a few seconds to remove it easily) and cut into 6 petals
Place the yellow tomato pieces on a baking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle some thyme leaves and place in the oven for 30 minutes
Drain the green tomatoes but keep the dressing
Add the shallots to the dressing
Season the dressing with some salt and pepper
Arrange the slices of thinly cut tomatoes in a circular fashion, overlapping each other, on a large serving platter
Place the green tomatoes and yellow tomato petals on top
Scatter the cherry tomatoes haphazardly
Drizzle the echalote vinaigrette over the entire plate
Sprinkle a few grains of fleur de sel and a few purple basil leaves