By: Allison Davis
We are certainly in the thick of it now—the hot sticky humid nights of July, lightning bug city, cricket choirs, and mosquito hell. I will take it any day over this past winter. Mother Nature can keep dishing it out as long as I have a pool nearby, air conditioning, a full bottle of bug spray, a fan next to my bed, ice in my fridge, and maybe an ice cold summer shandy (fruit/vegetable style beer) now and then. (No, I am not the outdoors kind of woman) but what I do love is the amazing produce this weather yields here in Kentucky.
At the beginning of this summer, I joined a Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with Elmwood Stock Farm and have been enjoying my robust box of fruits and vegetables since the beginning of June. Recently I have been chowing down on what seems like an endless variety of heirloom tomatoes. I also planted a few in my home garden since tomatoes are fairly easy to maintain anywhere with full sun and consistent watering. Yellow boys, pink ladies, beef steak, cherry tomatoes, green striped, you name it…I love tomatoes!
It’s easy to get in a habit of the classic Caprese salad and top the tomatoes with a simple basil pesto, some sliced red onion and fresh mozzarella but my absolute favorite salad is mixed with a unique fresh herb combination of tarragon, oregano, parsley, and basil. I first discovered this recipe in the Junior League of Houston cookbook and have been enjoying it ever since with just a few tweaks of my own. Salad recipes in particular are always up for personal touches and can be altered to appease your specific taste. Enjoy!
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP minced shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
½ - ¾ cup olive oil
1 TBSP finely chopped oregano leaves
1 TBSP finely chopped tarragon leaves
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
3 TSBP finely chopped fresh Basil
1 cup diced red tomatoes
1 cup diced yellow tomatoes
1 cup grape tomato halves
1 ½ tsp coarse salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 large red tomatoes, thinly sliced
5 large yellow tomatoes, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
6 cups baby arugula
2 ounces freshly shaven Parmesan cheese or fresh diced mozzarella cheese
Combine the lemon juice, shallots, and garlic in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil; add the herbs, diced tomatoes and grape tomatoes. Mix well and season with the salt and pepper. Arrange the sliced tomatoes decoratively around a large platter, alternating colors, season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomato pieces from the dressing and place over the sliced tomatoes, drizzle with three-fourths of the dressing. Toss the arugula with the remaining dressing. Arrange the arugula in the middle of the platter of tomatoes and top with the cheese. Do not refrigerate. Serve immediately.