From Sondra Bernstein comes this recipe for a summery and simple Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad, one of the most popular menu items at the girl & the fig.
“You don’t normally think of pairing tomatoes with watermelon, but peak tomato season is usually the same for watermelon,” says the chef. “The two fruits are somewhat similar in texture and color, as well. The watermelon’s sugar content, though higher than a tomato’s, ties the two fruits together. The addition of the salty sheep’s milk feta and a sprinkling of sea salt create a nice contrast to the sweetness of the salad. We use fresh oregano as the main herbal flavor, but it would be just as good with fresh basil or thyme.” Serves six.
For the vinaigrette
1 medium yellow tomato, blanched, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
For the salad
½ cup feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One pound seedless watermelon, rind removed, sliced into ½ x 2-inch rounds 2 pounds
Assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced into ½-inch pieces
Tablespoon each fresh oregano leaves and sea salt, for garnish
To prepare the vinaigrette: Place the yellow tomato in a blender. On medium speed add the mustard and then the vinegar. Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed and set aside.
In a separate bowl, crumble the feta and mix it with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
To serve: Divide the heirloom tomato slices and the watermelon slices equally among 6 plates. When plating, alternate the slices and garnish with a bit of feta. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each portion and garnish with the oregano leaves. Add a touch of sea salt to the salad if desired.
Girl & the fig at Viansa
Chef John Toulze prepares farm-to-table fare, including the salad, on location for the Chef Dinner Series at Viansa Winery on Thursday, July 27. The three-course dinner, with paired wines, begins with passed appetizers on the terrace. 6 p.m. $60-$80. Viansa.com.