At 4pm on the dot, you would find my mom in front of the TV, watching Ina make a beautiful meal for her Jeffrey, followed by Giada and her V-neck shirts cooking up an Italian feast. At the time, I didn’t really understand the fascination my mom had with cooking shows, but I’d occasionally relax and watch with her too. She’d get inspired and want to make a new recipe and I’d be the one that would have to do the grocery run.
One day, I grabbed the list without reading through it first, much like I do with recipes, and headed to the store. Upon arriving, I glanced at the list and saw “heirloom tomatoes”. As a teenager, I knew about the round tomatoes and the little tomatoes, and the tomato ketchup that went with my french fries. I had no idea what the heck an heirloom tomato was.
I looked around the store and could not find any heirloom tomatoes, granted I didn’t know what I was looking for. I grabbed some regular ‘ole round ones and figured they would do. I came home with the replacement tomatoes, much to my mom’s disappointment. At the time I didn’t understand what the fuss was about, but now, as an older and wiser home cook, I know the difference that heirloom tomatoes can make in a dish.
Between the funky shapes, variety of colors, tastes, and textures, heirloom tomatoes are the star of any salad. The farmer’s market this week had some that were calling my name, and my new American cooking magazines had recipes that needed to be tested.
So this heirloom tomato peach salad was born. And a beaut she is. Regular ‘ole tomatoes won’t do, so don’t send anyone else to do your shopping for you.
Make a peach dressing.
Chop a few things up.
Mix it all together.
And my goodness, she’s a showstopper.
Worth the fuss.
- 3 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 medium ripe peach or nectarine, finely diced
- ½ large cucumber, halved lengthwise, deseeded, and thinly sliced
- 2 lbs. // 800 grams mixed heirloom tomatoes
- 1 small bunch basil leaves (roughly 15 grams), chopped and some reserved whole for garnish
- 1 medium red onion, finely sliced in half moons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Mix the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Slice your large heirloom tomatoes in rounds and your small ones in half. Add the cucumber, onion, chopped basil, small tomatoes, and salt and a bit of pepper to the bowl. Mix until evenly dressed. Pour half of the salad onto a serving plate, then put a few large slices on top. Pour the rest of the salad on top of the slices, and add the last tomato slices on top of that. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper all over. Garnish with whole basil leaves. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for later in the day. It tastes best when eaten the same day.