Tony is the gardener in the family. He has grown lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, all kinds of herbs, and TOMATOES! Every year he plants four to six tomato plants and usually half of those plants are producing at the same time, which leaves us with an overabundance. Oh, believe me, I’m not complaining, but it can be a challenge to use them all. I put them in every salad. I slow roast them. I stuff them. I even attempted a homemade sauce last year (it was good, but I wouldn’t do it again!). And then I take them to work. Elizabeth’s daughter Skylar particularly like them! She even stuffed as many in her mouth as possible and sent me a picture (not sure about the writing on her face…I know she was coming home from a day at summer camp).
One of our favorite tomato-based salads (particularly when we have some heirlooms in the garden) is this one from Bon Appétit (August, 2003). It’s so simple, just a few ingredients, and so delicious. And pretty, too. So pretty, in fact, that I used it as the cover photo on the Eat.Cook.Blog Facebook page. And if you aren’t lucky enough to have a gardener like Tony, pick up the tomatoes at your local farmer’s market.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese
8 1/2-inch-thick slices crusty bread
4 large garlic cloves, halved
3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup currant or grape tomatoes or halved cherry or pear tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4-5 medium heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, cored, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin
3 celery stalks, sliced thin on diagonal
1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled blue cheese
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rub bread with cut garlic halves; brush bread with 3 tablespoons oil. Combine remaining 1/3 cup oil, currant tomatoes, and green onions in medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Overlap tomato slices in concentric circles on platter, alternating colors. Scatter onion and celery slices over tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon tomato and green onion mixture over. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
Grill bread until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Cut each slice diagonally in half; serve with salad.