Have you ever eaten something that’s made you moan?
Seriously. I bet you have. And I bet it was something sinful – maybe a super-rich dessert, or a perfectly marbled rib-eye that just melted in your mouth.
I bet it wasn’t a salad.
That’s right – this salad made me moan. From my first bite, all the way until I ate the leftovers at work days later. I can’t even remember the last time I ate leftover salad and even remotely enjoyed. And this one… I just didn’t want it to end.
I am becoming more and more obsessed with Alex Guarnaschelli. She’s become my number-one chef on the Food Network when it comes to inspiration. Well, maybe it’s a tie with Ina… I’m not even sure anymore. There’s something about the way Alex describes food that just speaks to me. And she knows what the hell she’s talking about, more importantly.
She does things in a special way.
Take this salad, for example. Part of the beauty of this salad is that the tomatoes are served at room temperature and the watermelon is served perfectly cold. The combination is incredible. There’s the big, juicy beefsteak slices coupled with the smaller cherry tomato pieces for a slight contrast in flavor and texture.
And the dressing… The dressing is even more incredible, because she uses tarragon where most people would probably use basil. I didn’t even know I liked tarragon, because I hate licorice. But I don’t – I love it in this dish, because it brings out the flavors in the fruit in an unbelievable way. There are also tiny pieces of strawberries that dress this salad, and again, this is something I never would have thought to do – but it adds this gentle sweetness that doesn’t overpower the rest of what’s happening.
Thank you for being a genius, Alex. Thank you for making a salad that I dream about.
Tomato + Watermelon Salad
Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 beefsteak (or other large) tomatoes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 pint strawberries, finely chopped
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons super-fine sugar
- 8 ounces cold watermelon
In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
Place the tomatoes on a flat surface. Cut the smaller ones in half and the larger ones into slices. Arrange all of them in a single layer, flesh side up. Season them with salt, black pepper and sugar. Drizzle the tomatoes with the dressing. Toss them with the tarragon and strawberries.
Arrange the tomatoes down the length of 6 rectangular plates. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and top with the watermelon. Serve immediately.
Serves 10 – 12.