“We have a pot of drip beef on the stove and bubbly chilling in the fridge.
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Can you be here in a couple of hours?”
Some invitations are far too good to pass up. What to bring, what to bring?
We're lucky enough to have neighbors who, every year, grow the most flavorful heirloom tomatoes I've ever eaten. All as starts from a student organization on campus. It just so happened, a few were sitting on our kitchen counter
The tomato salad recipe I've wanted to try. Now, where was that again?
Food is most alive and filled with nutrients when it's harvested at the peak of ripeness. From the moment produce is plucked from the vine, its nutrient value slowly begins to diminish. The longer the journey from the garden to your dinner table, only compounds the problem.
All fresh food contains enzymes that assist in its decomposition. For example, if we leave fresh food out on our deck on a sunny day, it will begin to shrivel, become mushy, and eventually end up moldy and smelly. Little do we know, but these same enzymes help our bodies as well when it comes to digesting and metabolizing what we eat.
The more I learn, I can't help be struck by how different our food world is today when compared to 60 or 75 years ago — a time before the industrial revolution when farming became big business.
The days when family gardens and local farms were the norm
In today's world, food is often picked when it's unripe and green, before becoming a small piece of a large distribution network. It's picked up at the farm, trucked to a distribution center, and then shipped to our local area (miles, states, or even countries away!)
From there it's often stored in a warehouse and slowly rotated into the grocery's produce section. Often being put on the bottom of the stack, so that which arrived first has a better chance of being sold. We buy it, take it home, where it lives in the fridge for a few days before it's prepared and eaten.
The entire process can take an awfully long time. With so much nutrient potential either never realized, or simply lost along the way.
The thoughts that ran through my head as I washed the dirt from these beautiful tomatoes.
If you have a chance to make this salad, please do. I promise you won't be disappointed. The roasted tomatoes add a depth that's worth turning on the oven for. Toasted almonds and capers, big chunks of fresh mozzarella, fresh curly kale, all covered with a healthy drizzling of chive and olive oil dressing.
Add some protein, and you'll have a perfect summertime meal at home. Better yet, put it on a pretty serving dish and bring it to a spur of the moment dinner party. Something as wonderful as this begs to be shared with someone (or someones) that you love
~ Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Chive Dressing
- 2 lbs heirloom tomatoes, halved and then cut into roughly the same size
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- couple pinches of sea salt
- ½ cup toasted almonds, sliced
- 2 Tbsp capers, fried for a couple of minutes in a bit of clarified butter
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks
- a handful of torn kale leaves
- a generous drizzle of chive dressing
- Chive Dressing
- ⅓ cup + ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- a pinch of sea salt
- Roast 1 pound (or half) of the tomatoes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Halve the tomatoes and toss them in a bowl along with the olive oil, maple syrup, and sea salt. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut side up
- Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes have shrunken a bit & have begun to caramelize around the edges (~ 45 to 60 minutes).
- Set aside to cool.
- Make the Chive Dressing
- In a food processor (or blender) puree ⅓ cup chopped chives with ½ cup olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Stir in another ¼ cup finely chopped chives by hand.
- Assemble the Salad
- Gently toss the roasted and raw tomatoes with a bit of chive or lemon oil, most of the almonds, the capers, the mozzarella, and the kale.
- Serve topped with the remaining almonds and a few extra fresh chives that have been cut into small pieces.
It is so true how different our food is today . I love fresh food and this salad with chive dressing would be perfect for the summer!
Perfect timing indeed! Been having tomato salads almost every day, and will definitely try switching it up with your half-fresh/half-roasted idea! Thank you for yet another great recipe… 🙂
Who would refuse such an invite which involves bubbly and loving this salad so easy to make.
I have an ongoing love affair with tomatoes. I get them in order to make something with them, but they never last long enough to get into the dish. I eat them by the end of the night. This salad looks delicious, I would love to make it, if my tomatoes make it to that point.
We only grow heirloom tomatoes and loves making salads like the one you have. Your chive dressing is being made today. Just have go out and pick some fresh chives from the herb garden.
I don’t think I’ve ever tried an heirloom tomato, but my mum does grow her own baby plums, baby cherry and sun baby (yellow) tomatoes, so I definitely agree with the sentiment that they test better than shop bought ones x
What a nice change up for our summertime pool party/ bbq. I haven’t tried Heirloom tomatoes as yet. The salad looks amazing and I’m sure very flavorful with the chive dressing. You do make it look easy-I’m going to have to give it a try-thanks
I actually had no idea about harvesting the veggies when it was at its ultimate ripeness. I wish I could garden more but I definitely have a black thumb. Your salad looks absolutely delicious and irresistible!
This salad is gorgeous! It is sad how so much food travels long distances before reaching the table. I understand the necessity, but it doesn’t take away from the frustration. We live in Florida, just a few miles from acres and acres of orange groves. However, we can’t find Florida oranges in our stores. Our oranges come from California.
Tomatoes are my favorite veggie/fruit! Sadly my garden isn’t doing so well so I’ll have to stop at the farmers market for the ingredients!
In our house tomatoes are a favorite. I cannot keep them in the fridge. We eat them like they’re going out of style so this recipe is something we would love.
I love tomatoes, particularly when paired with mozzarella. The suburban area I live in hasn’t had any farming since before I was born, we don’t even really have roadside stands.
I was at an event yesterday called Empire Farm Days, where many vendors in the agricultural industry display the newest, and sometimes biggest innovations. I made the comment to my brother-in-law about how we don’t think about the reasons food prices are so high, and it was as simple as looking at the huge tractors, combines, etc, that are designed to keep up with supply and demand. Give me a roadside produce stand or a local farmer’s market any day!
So true…our grandparents used to have a farm filled with vegetables and fruit trees. How different it is now. This salad looks delicious and so refreshing. Perfect for summer and definitely great for company!
Our neighbor has so many tomatoes right now she doesn’t know what to do with them all. I’ll send her this recipe. My daughter would love this in her lunch box for school!
This looks like an amazing salad! My daughter is vegetarian and I am always looking for new meal ideas for her, this is a new one to try! How great to have neighbors that grow and share their veggies with you! I have always wanted to grow my own food!
I’ve never heard of a heirloom tomato before! I’m not a fan of tomatoes full stop but I know my Dad is somewhat of a tomato connoisseur and can tell when a tomato is home grown or shop bought!
Love the flavors of heirloom tomatoes and chives . And that plate looks so beautiful with all fresh produce.
I love the colors and flavors of fresh heirloom tomatoes. My daughter works at the farmer’s market and can pick up heirloom tomatoes at work every week. They taste so much better than store-bought tomatoes.
I love tomatoes! I’ve been on somewhat of a tomato kick lately, where I’m cutting up one beef steak tomato, and consuming it with salt and pepper for part of my lunch. Roasting a tomato? I’ve never had one, but this salad sounds divine!
Heirloom tomatoes are my favorite. This Heirloom Tomato Salad is sure to be delicious. I will have to pick up the ingredients I need to make one this weekend.
That looks ABSOLUTELY delectable. I want to dive in and take a bite. You are giving me such good ideas (as I am a vegetarian!)
Oh i need to try this chive dressing. My husband and I have been trying to eat more fresh salads for our lunches and I think this dressing would be a perfect dressing to try for us both. Our tomatoes are growing well this season too! YUM!
I used to grow little baby tomatoes each summer. I don’t know why I stopped! I sure did enjoy watching them grow! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks very tasty!
Wow, what a bright and colorful salad! This seems like one of those dishes that are not only quick to whip up but very pleasing to everyone. I never would have thought of adding maple syrup to a salad!
Oh my goodness, this sounds amazing! At first glance I just noticed the colorful array of tomatoes and was already interested. Seeing almonds and capers tossed in too- you got me! This salad sounds sensational. I’m so grateful for the farmers who bring loads of veggies and fruits to market year-round here in Costa Rica. We’re really blessed to have a rainbow of produce available any time. I can’t wait to try this salad! Bookmarked!
I absolutely LOVE tomatoes, so this is something that definitely sparks my interest. I really like how colorful this is and although it’s a salad, it looks like a gourmet meal. Food that looks and tastes delicious is a win-win in my book. Thanks for sharing!
My daughter lives in a average sized condo and it did not prevent her from creating a little zen and herb garden in her little balcony area. She tried growing cherry tomatoes in a large flower pot and it did give her nice, plump, sweet tomatoes that they made into salads or ate it as it is. I guess you just need to make do with what you have and I am happy my daughter maximized the use of that balcony space. I am saving your recipe too. I know she’d love to make that chive dressing too.
It makes me feel a little sad to think about how much our lives have changed in regards to food consumption. I actually came across something called a “food jungle” the other day, which is a jungle filled with fruit trees which is surrounded by herbs and veges. Once I have a backyard, I will definitely be looking into growing my own tomatoes!
Heirloom tomatoes are amazing especially when they’re ripe and freshly picked! I think this salad would be the best recipe for it. I’m sure the roasted tomatoes bring a beautiful flavor to the recipe and I’d love to give it a try. It’s not difficult to make after all.
Those Heirloom Tomatoes are beautiful!!! I’ve been on a salad kick lately so I can’t wait to try your recipe. Nothing better than a fresh picked tomato from you home garden. Our garden is producing tomatoes left and right, so I’ve been enjoying them everyday. We are lucky enough to have a neighbor gift us some zucchini and yellow squash because we had to pull ours up due to squash bugs. We are growing a second round since Texas has a long growing season. I wish today was more like back in the day.
This is the ultimate caprese salad! The chive flowers turn the bowl into a perfect rainbow of colors. Thanks for another great recipe. xx
I’m going to the Farmers Market this morning to get some tomatoes so I can make this. It looks delicious.
So great!! Totally refreshing. Fun fact is that in India the prices of tomato is on hike these days..so may be when I’ll purchase it, I’ll make it. However, Heirloom tomatoes looks so amazing and the ingredients you have provided is making me to eat it.
Thanks for sharing this salad recipe for us.
I’m absolutely dying to start my own little veg garden and we’re currently working on clearing a few areas which means by this time next year it may be happening! I try to avoid buying any imported veg and now shop at my local farm which it is freshly picked, the only drawback is that it gets a bit samey. I love the look of this salad too and eat lots of tomatoes so I’m pretty sure we’d all love this in our home.
I have always been a huge tomato fan but unfortunately due to medical issues I am no longer able to eat them. It’s terrible because I enjoy them on everything and this looks great!
I love roasted tomatoes of any kind. And always finding ways to eating them other than on a sandwich, toppings for pizza, and recently, pureed into a yummy roasted salsa. I love the idea of keeping it simple and this salad looks great.
Spectacular, sophisticated, refreshing way to enjoy the best tomatoes of the season — served alongside your summer corn salad at a champagne-soaked ladies night, to rave reviews.
Heirloom tomatoes are so much tastier than store bought. I just can’t explain it. This looks delish!
There is nothing better than a great salad! This one looks amazing I think it would pair really well with pretty much anything. I’m going to have to give it a shot
Raising a glass to tomato season! Awesome.
I can’t wait for our garden tomatoes to ripen. They are almost there! My plants enormous this year, maybe because of all of the heat and sunshine. x
Hi Ali, When I visited SF several years ago and went to the market at the Ferry Building. I was amazed by all the different types of heirloom tomatoes – their colors and shapes and their gorgeous names. Absolutely stunning and will definitely be keeping this salad in mind for summers x
I’ve always roasted tomatoes as a way to deal with tasteless out of season fruit. Never thought to do it with delicious ones that already taste like something! The contrast of the bright, lively fresh tomatoes and the dark, velvety roasted ones is divine. Few things more summery.
I did a caprese entirely with roasted tomatoes the other day, and I thought it lacked the brightness and textural pop of fresh tomatoes. Half and half might be the answer!
Wow! What stunning photos and recipe. I’ve never thought to add capers to a tomato salad but now it seems like an obvious oversight!
This is so beautiful! We’ve been roasting farmer’s market tomatoes almost every week and tossing them in pasta and olive oil, with whatever herbs and greens we also find at the farmer’s market. Best summer dinner ever.
It looks great. I love tomatoes and tomato salad is on the table pretty much every day. I usually make a simple salad with tomatoes, onions, some cheese. I’ll be sure to try out your recipe.
I love this – perfect pairing of the cooked and raw…
re: roasting the tomatoes – I’ve been doing this for about four years – I roast up a big pan of them and put the results into small plastic containers. Cover with a layer of olive oil and freeze. I’ve found that by putting the olive oil on top before freezing the tomatoes, there is no freezer burn. Even after a year. Amazing…
My daughter made this over the weekend for a neighborhood get-together. It was amazing! I can´t wait to make it with tomatoes from our own garden. xx
Wow and WOW! The colors ALONE make me want to create this beautiful dish. I have been getting into dehydrating fruit and vegetables (from the garden for later use), and seeing the roasted tomatoes makes me think that roasting is next on the list! BTW, made your carrot cake yesterday, in my cast-iron, and turned out absolutely scrumptious. That recipe kicks. Thanks for your lovely site!
This could not come at a more perfect time as I am swimming in tomatoes of all kinds. I might also give this salad a try with your garlicky green dressing perhaps drizzled on that crunchy loaf of bread 🙂
Have you ever tried to grow your own heirloom tomatoes? Next summer I’d like to try!
I’m not a fan of tomatoes, despite knowing how beneficial they are to your health (I know, I know!) But this actually looks amazing. I would love to try this out if I was going to give tomatoes another chance. I also love that you added kale to this as well because I just bought some!
So many times my kids and I would pick our own veggies, also so many of those times the veggies would be eaten before we got them to the house. There is just something about freshly picked veggies from the field or garden. You are absolutely right, even the freshest of veggies in the store can be weeks old before we actually eat it. My kids love to have their own gardens and are learning so much from them too.
Ali, I made this yesterday and it was perfection! The caramelized heirlooms are the perfect amount of sweetness!
Looks delicious! I do enjoy adding tomatoes to different types of salads and other dishes. Last weekend, I helped my daughter prep food for a bridal shower and I discovered the wonderful taste of caprese bites- cut up cherry tomatoes with mozarella cheese cubes marinated in balsamic vinegar and basil. Delicious!
I looooove tomatoes! This looks so yumm!We just picked about 5 pounds of various tomatoes last night, now I have a great way to enjoy the benefits of the crop!
Hi Ali, Thank you for this gorgeous recipe! I’m not a big tomato eater but I had my first (I know it sounds strange) Heirloom Tomato Salad a couple of weeks ago at SW Steakhouse in Las Vegas and absolutely loved it! Now, I can’t wait to try your version. :)!
Ah, friendships can be so so tricky, and you’re right – letting go is hard but do-able. Sending hugs to you. 🙂
This salad looks really good. I know that growing your own tomatoes and picking them at the peak of freshness tastes better and has it retain so much more of the good vitamins that are available in them. It’s sad what they do to them to transport them.
I’ve not tried heirloom tomatoes, but I swore, this salad bowled me over. Shall make it out very soon compiling all ingredients for the matter of simple recipe and full of nutrition.
Yum, Ali. I’m coming over for leftovers.
I love this – perfect pairing of the cooked and raw… re: roasting the tomatoes – I’ve been doing this for about four years – I roast up a big pan of them and put the results into small plastic containers. Cover with a layer of olive oil and freeze. I’ve found that by putting the olive oil on top before freezing the tomatoes, there is no freezer burn. Even after a year. Amazing…