This salad was on the cover of Bon Appétit this month. I knew I wanted to make it on first sight, only to realize after opening to the page that it’s a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. I’m such a huge fan of his, and this salad is a perfect example of his talents. With a couple of simple twists he offers up a new and exciting version of a plain, albeit beautiful, tomato salad. His genius is expressed in the paper thin, barely charred slices of roasted lemon, slightly crisp, and full of unexpected bitter/tangy flavor. And in the dressing. I would have been thrilled just to have discovered it on its own today. Equal parts pomegranate molasses and olive oil blended with…wait for it…allspice. The dressing emulsifies with just a quick whisk, and the flavor is killer. Sweet, spicy, completely different from what you expect on your tomato salad. The man’s a genius, I tell you.
This is the month for tomatoes, for sure. Just look at the crazy colorful and oddly shaped mini heirlooms I found at the farmer’s market yesterday. They look like teeny eggplants! The woman at the stand told me what they are called, but I’ve forgotten, so if anyone knows, give a shout out in the comments. I mixed them with tiny round cherry tomatoes for this salad.
I always make a few tomato salads in August as a swan song for summer. I tend to get interested in fall cooking pretty early, so it’s now or never for me. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
This salad comes together quickly, the most tedious part is slicing all the small tomatoes in half. Don’t be tempted to do this ahead of time, though, as cut tomatoes and fresh basil are incredibly time sensitive. You can make the roasted lemon ahead, if you like.
- I lemon
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 pints mixed cherry heirloom tomatoes, washed and halved
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- one large handful of small basil leaves
- several Tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup spring lettuce mix (for the base of the salad)
- 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Set oven to 350F
- Wash the lemon well, and then cut it in half lengthwise. Slice it in very thin slices, and remove all the seeds.
- Toss the slices with the sugar and oil, and then lay them out on a lined baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, until they are just beginning to char around the edges. Set them aside to cool.
- Whisk together the dressing.
- Line a large shallow salad bowl with the spring mix lettuce, and then arrange the tomatoes, onion slices, fresh herbs and lemon slices on top. Toss lightly with the dressing and serve immediately. The salad will not wait!
recipe slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi
If you haven’t tried pomegranate molasses yet, you must. It’s the most deliciously thick, tangy reduction of pomegranate juice and it is the kind of ingredient than can make a huge difference in lots of things, from sauces and stews to salad dressings. It’s a key ingredient in one of my favorite easy chicken dishes , POMEGRANATE AND LIME CHICKEN THIGHS, and I even have a recipe for making it yourself, HERE. You can also find it ONLINE, if you have trouble locating it in your supermarket.