Tomato Salad

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Tomato Salad
Greg Howe

Chef de Cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Chef Greg Howe's Tomato Salad is topped with tempura squash blossoms melds multiple green-market flavors.

Serves 4
Pickled Onion
  • 1 spanish onion, sliced thin in rings
  • 1 habanero, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
Serrano-Apple Vinaigrette
  • 2 cups green apple juice, reduced by ¾ and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 serranos, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 small heirloom tomatoes, cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1 avocado, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 small Spanish white onion, sliced and pickled*
  • 2 cups requeson cheese, in all
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 4 squash blossoms
  • Tempura batter
  • 1 large bunch epazote, leaves julienned
  • 1 cup apple-serrano vinaigrette
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar, reduced to a syrup and cooled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Instructions

Prepare pickled onion mixture first by mixing all ingredients together. Let sit for at least 12 hours.

To prepare vinaigrette, place all ingredients except olive oil in a blender. Blend on high until incorporated. While blender is running, slowly add in olive oil until all of it is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve.

For the salad, start by preparing squash blossoms. Mix together half of the requeson cheese with the crème fraîche, whipping until thoroughly combine. Remove the stamen from each blossom and stuff with the cheese-crème fraîche mixture. Dip each squash blossom in the tempura batter, and fry in vegetable oil until crispy. Reserve blossoms in a warm place.

On 4 chilled serving plates, spoon equal amounts of the dressing across the center of the plate. Lay one slice of each tomato and two slices of avocado on each serving plate in whatever design you choose. Top each plate with the pickled onions, the remaining requeson cheese, a squash blossom, epazote and a drizzle of the balsamic syrup.