When tomatoes arrive at the farmers market, this is the salad that I love making again and again. I strongly encourage everyone to use this recipe as a loose guideline and get creative. Substitute any creamy savory cheese for the feta (try burrata, ricotta, robiola); substitute homemade breadcrumbs for the hazelnuts; or add any of your favorite fresh herbs.
The tomatoes should stay constant (cut open and lightly marinated with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar)—but everything else in this salad is fair game to swap in or out as you wish. Just remember to maintain the general idea of the salad, which is something crunchy (the hazelnuts), something salty and creamy (the feta), and something grilled (the corn).
The measurements in this recipe are inexact (a handful of this, and handful of that...). Please embrace the inexactness. Go to the farmers market, but a few handfuls of the items that look most beautiful to you, and use approximations to make this salad delicious. You can do it! —Josh Cohen
4 to 6 people
cherry tomatoes, plus one or two larger heirloom tomatoes (use a mix of colors and sizes if you can)
freshly ground black pepper
ear of corn
crumbled feta cheese
crushed toasted hazelnuts
lamb's quarters (lamb's quarters is wild spinach, feel free to substitute your favorite tender leafy green.)
your favorite vinaigrette (I prefer a homemade sherry vinaigrette)
Cut your tomatoes into bite-size shapes. Small tomatoes can be cut in half; larger tomatoes should be cut into pieces. You can get creative with the shapes you make. Line your tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, with the cut side facing up. Season them with olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a light sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Set them aside.
While the tomatoes are marinating, grill your corn. Take the husk off the corn, and cook it over a hot grill until the kernels are charred but not burnt. Let the cooked corn cool to room temperature, and then use a knife to cut the kernels away from the cob. Save the kernels and discard the cob.
Wash your lamb's quarters and spin it dry. Pick a couple handfuls of leaves. Save the rest for another use.
To assemble the salad, find a large flat platter. Add most of your tomatoes to the platter, leaving some empty negative spaces. Add the corn, sprinkling it mainly in the negative spaces, but also over the top of the tomatoes. Add the lamb's quarters leaves in a random fashion, followed by the feta and the hazelnuts. Drizzle a little of your favorite vinaigrette over the top of the salad. Add the remaining tomatoes to the top. Serve and enjoy.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.