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Three Tomato Salad

Rodney Strong - Three Tomato Salad

Recipe by Chef Jeff Mall, down home: downtown


El Rancho Dressing:
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño juice (from 1 small can pickled jalapeños)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons red wine vinegar1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard, such as Colman’s
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 teaspoon dill seed, crushed
1⁄8 teaspoon celery seed
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Sliced Summer Tomatoes:
1 pound tomatoes of varying colors, sliced 1⁄2 inch thick
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fried Green Tomatoes:
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3 tablespoons masa harina (Mexican corn flour )
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces green (unripe) tomatoes, sliced 1⁄2 inch thick
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten Canola oil for frying

Cherry Tomato Sauté:
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 slices bacon, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the el rancho dressing: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir with a whisk to blend. Set aside.
For the sliced tomatoes: Layer the tomato slices with the basil leaves on one-third of a platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, arrange the tomatoes on 4 individual plates.)


For the fried green tomatoes: In a shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, masa harina, salt, and pepper. Stir with a whisk to blend. Dredge the green tomato slices in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg, letting excess drip off. Turn the slices in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1⁄4 inch oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, add the coated tomatoes and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Arrange the slices on the platter next to the sliced summer tomatoes.

For the cherry tomato sauté: In a small bowl, combine the basil, vinegar, and olive oil; whisk to blend. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until mostly crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain off the fat. Return to the heat, add the cherry tomatoes, and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Add the basil vinaigrette, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the cherry tomato sauté alongside the fried green tomatoes. Drizzle the fried green tomatoes with the el rancho dressing and serve.

Makes 4 first-course servings.

Photography by Alan Campbell Photography

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