While the stars of this tomato and salsa verde salad are the crispy roasted capers, inspired by my Gramercy Tavern introduction, the other components are more familiar: The idea of mixing roasted and fresh tomatoes comes from Heidi Swanson’s upcoming book Near & Far; the green sauce is adapted from Amanda, who uses it on meat, in grain salads, and surely in a million other ways; the courage to use an anchovy comes from Kenzi and Phyllis, who convinced me there must be something to this fishy seductress; the idea to use the excess tomato oil as the base for the green sauce comes from Kristen, who recently taught me how to use that oil to sauté shrimp; and the serving over yogurt comes from Merrill—it’s how she serves her roasted zucchini.
Instead of culling through all of the colors, flavors, textures, and ingredients that have inspired me over the past month, I plucked these cooks' greatest hits and put them it all together. If that makes me a thief, at least I'm a thief with good taste. —Sarah Jampel
4 to 6
For the salad:
sweet cherry tomatoes, preferably a mixture of colors and shapes
garlic cloves, lightly crushed
Olive oil, for roasting
Coarse salt, for sprinkling, plus more to taste
large or 2 medium/small ripe beefsteak tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
thinly sliced red onions (half-moon shape), soaked in ice water for 10 minutes, drained, and dried (optional step that will remove the bite from the onion)
fresh basil leaves, or fewer depending on your preferences
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour the cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure everything fits in a single layer. Pour a generous layer of olive oil over the tomatoes so that it forms a shallow pools in the base of the baking sheet—you'll be repurposing this oil later. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are blistered and deflated and have released their juices.
Toss the capers with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and pour them onto a separate baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they're fragrant and crispy.
When the tomatoes are out of the oven, you can start on the salsa verde: Pour all of the extra juices and oil from the cherry tomato baking sheet into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in enough extra-virgin olive oil so that you have 3/4 cup total.
Add the oregano, basil, and parsley to a food processor and process until the herbs are all finely shredded and paste-like. Pour in a small amount of the oil (a couple of tablespoons) and process.
Add the garlic, anchovy, capers, and red pepper flakes and process to combine. With the motor running, stream in the rest of the olive oil and process until you have a uniform sauce. Taste it, then add a squeeze of lemon and freshly ground pepper, as desired. Don't add salt until after you've tasted the sauce—the anchovies and capers might be plenty salty on their own!
In a large salad bowl, dump the blistered cherry tomatoes, roasted capers, raw tomato chunks, red onion, and a handful of basil leaves. (You can also reserve the capers for later and add them to the top of the salad at the very end—this will help them to retain their crispiness.) Add a spoonful of salsa verde and mix. You can add the salsa verde until it coats all the vegetables and pools at the bottom of the bowl or you can stop earlier. Taste for acid and add red wine vinegar as you see fit; add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the salad spooned over Greek yogurt and scoop everything up with fluffy pita (even better if the pita is warm). Drizzle with more salsa verde as you see fit.
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.