Creole Tomato Salad

  • Yield 4 servings

During the hottest summer months, no lunch or dinner is complete without a simple salad of thickly sliced Plaquemine Parish Creole tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and sweet Vidalia onions.

You can vary this classic salad by adding a chiffonade of fresh basil and rustic French bread croutons, or by drizzling it with other dressings, such as Balsamic Vinaigrette. The Fresh Herb Vinaigrette is extremely versatile. It's great drizzled over grilled fish, or used as a marinade for steaks.

Ingredients

Fresh Herb Vinaigrette:
1 cup Champagne vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 cups blend of 80% vegetable oil and 20% olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh herbs, equal parts basil, thyme, tarragon, chives and oregano
-- Kosher salt to taste
Salad:
1/2 bunch watercress
4 medium Creole tomatoes
-- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
6 ounces fresh mozzarella or other soft cheese, cut into 4 slices
1 -- Vidalia onion, shaved or thinly sliced

Instructions

For the vinaigrette:

  1. Combine the vinegar, dry mustard, shallots, sugar and cracked pepper in a large mixing bowl or food processor and whisk or process to mix well.
  2. Whisk or blend in the oil blend very gradually. Whisk in the fresh herbs and season with kosher salt.

For the Salad:

  1. Cut off the watercress stems about 1/2-inch below the leaves and discard the stems. Arrange several sprigs of watercress on each serving plate.
  2. Slice each tomato into 1-inch slices, discarding the stem and blossom ends. Season with kosher salt and cracked pepper.
  3. Layer 1 slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella cheese and a second slice of tomato on each prepared plate.
  4. Top with the Vidalia onion and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Dickie Brennan & Co., Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe, the Flavor of New Orleans (Dickie Brennan & Co., 2002)

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