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Jun 5, 2008 12:46 PM

Your Best Tomato Salad

At the moment I have an embarrassment of riches in the tomato line: homegrown Cherokee Purples, Early Girls, some yellow Beefsteak that I've forgotten the name of, and Sweet 100s cherry tomatoes (don't hate me - believe me, I've worked very hard and waited a long, long time for the stars to align like this).

What's the best way to totally overindulge in sweet tomato bliss, so that I can sample all these lovely tomatoes in one dish, that will showcase them to their utmost? My usual solution is a big tomato sandwich (one slice, consisting of about half of the largest tomato I can find, between two slices of good bread, with mayo and fresh-ground pepper, and a sprinkle of basil chiffonade) but that only features one kind of tomato at a time - I want total tomato overload!

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  1. I make a tart. You can use pate brisee, but biscuit dough is better. Top with a creamy filling...i like goat cheese and a whisp of Duke's mayo. layer with gorgeous colored tomato slices.

    How did you get tomatos this early?

    3 Replies
    1. re: danna

      Wow, that looks good! Thanks! I'm guessing you bake the crust first, then add the cheese mixture and tomatoes afterward?

      An advantage to living in Texas is early tomatoes. Disadvantages include a short season - it's already so hot they've stopped setting fruit - and many other problems....

      1. re: Bat Guano

        Correct. bake, the fill. The mayo makes it kind of a play on the traditional southern staple, the tomato sandwich, gussied up so my Yankee husband will eat it. I can even sneak a biscuit in him this way. ;-)

        Oooh...the Burrata mentioned below reminds me of a dish I had out in Truckee last summer...3 piles of different heirlooms, 3 tiny piles of different salts, a huge mound of burrata. Possibly the best thing I ever ate in a restaurant, no cooking skills required, only spectacular sourcing.

        My tomatoes are in the tiny green stage(SC)...and it's been in the hi 90's for days, no end in sight, no rain in sight...wish me luck.

      2. re: danna

        I also cook a tomato pie, however, different than yours

        I use a basic pie crust, bake it first, then spread some dijon mustard at the bottom, a layer of gruyere cheese ( I usualy use sliced, as not to put too much cheese), fresh garlic and then tomato slices to fill the crust, bake it again and voila !

      3. I really enjoy sliced maters and fresh mozzarella. I like a twist on a Caprese salad. I make a dressing with 2 parts EVOO to 1 part balsamic, fresh basil, garlic, S&P.
        Add some bresh bread for dipping and that's my idea of a great summer salad.

        1. Anything with balsamic and mozzerella will work.

          How about tomato sandwiches, a great Southern favorite. Just slice the tomatoes, toast your favorite bread, slap on some mayo and you're in the high cotton!

          1. Do it Greek style: chopped fresh tomatoes, diced red onion or shallot, diced cucumber, crumbled feta cheese, minced fresh oregano or marjoram, a glug of EVOO and perhaps a grind or two of black pepper.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrbozo

              Oooh, I love horiatiki salad! But mine has to also include bell peppers and Kalamata olives. I rarely use herbs, just my very very best olive oil.

              For other tomato "salads," first off, if the tomatoes have exceptional and peak flavor, I love to eat them out of hand like an apple with some sea salt. For dinner, rather than pass everyone a whole tomatoe, I slice them, salt them, maybe a twist or two from the pepper mill, and a light drizzle of really good olive oil and balsamico.

              When you can find truly great tomatoes, enjoy them for what they are: Extremely rare!

            2. I am green with spring, no ripe toms yet, and I am fighting the urge to start eating green tomatoes!
              I love a saute of bacon (with the fat of course) and sliced okra, then add chunks of toms or cherry toms, the more colors the better. Fresh thyme and a bit of garlic, too. I got this from "A Gift of Southern Cooking".

              I've also made BLT salads...sweet butter lettuce, loads of different toms, with crumbled bacon on top, some quick-toasted croutons, and a mayo dressing. Sometimes I cheat and just whisk some good EVOO and lemon into Best Foods to get something that tastes more like homemade.

              I'm going to sit in the corner and sulk now.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kmr

                You're further along than we are up here in Calgary AB Canada. I have flowers but no fruit on the tomato plants, and the very beginnings of some everbearing strawberries. The kids are getting impatient, and the birds are getting bold (the plants are in containers on my raised deck...which is usually not a bird hangout).

                I love caprese, I love tomatoes with balsamic and mozza as others have mentioned. I'm also fond of tomato cucumber salad with a sweet vinaigrette. There's also a tomato gratin recipe in Flexitarian Table that I've been meaning to try - it only requires chrry tomatoes but I'm sure a variety would also work.

                Since you have such a bounty I'd suggest canning some so you can enjoy them when the weather gets cold again. :)

                1. re: maplesugar

                  I've made that FT tomato gratin and it was kinda blah the first time around. Then I upped the herbs and spices and it was delicious! But you're correct, any tomato variety would work. Especially ripe ones from one's own garden.

                  I too like the traditional Caprese but I love tomatoes, mozz, basil and Genoa salami on slices of Scali with a drizzle of EVOO.