Author Notes: I never ever buy tomatoes at the grocery store, but I won't hold it against you if you do. For me there's a phenomenal difference in the freshness of ones from the farmer's market or off the vine. I'm lucky enough to be able to grow all of ours.
Quite a few years ago I worked at a residential facility with phenomenal food. As a staff member, I cut my culinary teeth on the meals there and it was the start of my foodie life. I loved all of the food, but this salad, when I had it, quite simply rocked my world, taking tomatoes to another level.
When I complimented the chef on the salad, he said, "Yeah, it's kick-ass isn't it?" He gave me the recipe without quantities, and here's how I've been making it ever since. Can't wait for the cherries this year!
You can easily adjust quantities and seasonings to suit your taste.
For the Salad
- 2 pounds Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half (preferably Sun Gold or Sweet 100s)
- 2 Scallions, white and a little of the green part sliced thinly on an angle
- 1/2 bunch Cilantro, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
- 1/2 cup Pistachios (shelled)
For the Dressing
- 1 lemon, juiced (2 - 3 tbl)
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons Ancho chili paste (see below or substitute your favorite way to add heat)
- 1 small knob of ginger, grated
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed and smashed to a paste
- Toast the pistachios in a dry frying pan on the stove - it won't take long, so don't burn them, and when they're fragrant, take them off the heat, and set them aside to cool.
- Put the tomatoes, cilantro, and scallions in a large bowl.
- Assemble the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a container and whisking until they are emulsified.
- Taste the dressing - it will be strong, however the tomatoes will mellow it out, so look for balance - not too sour, hot or mustardy.
- Add the cooled pistachios to the tomatoes and then pour the dressing over the top, gently toss to coat everything. This salad is terrific served immediately, but leftovers will only get more flavorful in the refrigerator.
- To make your own Ancho Chili Paste - you can get anchos at Latin American markets, they're sold dried. Rehydrate the chilis by pouring boiling water over them. Drain them, remove stems and seeds (if you want it milder) and then whiz them in a food processor, making a chili sauce, relatively mild and smoky. It adds a nice richness to this salad.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cherry Tomatoes
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dish in the Raw