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The Divas on Heirloom Tomatoes

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On July 7, 2010

heirloom_mater_saladYou can eat them like an apple, with perhaps a pinch of salt, the juice dripping down your chin. Heirloom tomatoes, grown from “antique” seeds passed down through generations, are nothing like the artificially ripened hybrid tomatoes grown for mass distribution. They grace our plate in tasty shades of yellow, green, pink and purple, with names like Brandywine, Green Zebra, Hillbilly and Big Rainbow.
Though pricy, we’re positively giddy that supermarkets have begun to carry seasonal heirlooms.  Serve thick-sliced with a creamy dreamy Green Goddess dressing made from scratch, this is the perfect warm-weather salad to bolster any sort of main dish.

Heirloom ‘Mater Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Serves 4

1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 haas avocado, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup milk, or more, to taste, if dressing is too thick
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Hot sauce, to taste
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
4 to 6 large Heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a blender except salt, pepper and tomatoes. Blend on low speed until creamy, adding more milk if necessary.

Divide the tomato slices between 4 plates; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.

Diva Confession

You say tomato—we say tomahto, but we won’t call it off unless you break this one thoroughly unbendable rule: never ever refrigerate this veggie diva of salads, sammies, salsa and all things summer-saucy. Temps below 55 degrees compromise the tomato’s delicate, juicy texture, creating a less-flavorful, mealy mess.
Go local! The best tomatoes are harvested during the warm summer months, should be firm but not hard and have a sweet tomato aroma. Using a serrated knife ensures a most salubrious slice.

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