Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salad Revisited

Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salad

Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salad: a simple celebration of summer flavors

August: Traditionally hot and humid, it’s the month I used to fill with doctors appointments before heading back to school. Of course, that was many years ago and since that time I’ve added a few new associations: the air and water show, which I dread because it takes place mere blocks from my apartment; and heirloom tomatoes, which I love and dream about throughout July. Dread and a dream, a reassuring balance knowing those two events will occur every year.

And with heirloom tomatoes I always want avocado. It started the very first time I worked with heirloom tomatoes during culinary school when I was charged with creating a southwest-style side dish for a banquet. I scrounged through notes and books until I discovered an heirloom tomato and avocado salad with a cumin vinaigrette. There were no words to describe how good it was except to say it blew me away. Not only did I ace that assignment, but one of the toughest instructors took home the leftovers. Granted, I’d wanted them but was in no position to fight her.

Heirloom Tomato

Now every August when heirloom tomatoes are at their pinnacle, the first dish I make is indubitably a combination of heirloom tomatoes and avocado. It’s a beautiful collaboration of rich, creamy avocado that cuts into the sweet and acidic tomatoes, which in and of themselves burst with flavor.

While by no means complex, last year’s salad was a bit busy with chicken, champagne vinaigrette and toasted almonds. This year I wanted to create a simple celebration of flavors to enhance the tomatoes with peppery arugula, aged balsamic vinegar and a bit of chiffonade basil. Simple and delicious and a highlight of the season.

Heirloom Tomatoes Halved tomato Diced avocado

Here’s the recipe:

Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salad II - serves 2

2 cups arugula

1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 lemon

1 cup heirloom tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces (2 to 3 tomatoes in different varieties)

Pinch salt

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil

Arrange the arugula in the bottom of a serving bowl. Toss the diced avocado with the lemon juice, then mix with the heirloom tomatoes and season with a pinch of salt. Arrange the tomatoes and avocado on the arugula and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top. Garnish with the basil.

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  • Chef Gwen posted: 20 Aug at 3:48 pm

    Think your tomato avocado salad could really improve this 109 day in Phoenix.

  • Kamran Siddiqi posted: 20 Aug at 9:45 pm

    One long word: Yummm!

  • Tara posted: 21 Aug at 12:52 pm

    Wow, that is making my mouth water. It has been TOO LONG since I’ve had a REALLY good tomato. Which class did you make it for? I assume one well beyond my stopping point… Did you hear Chef Sikorski on NPR the other day? She was talking about sustainable fish :)

  • maris posted: 24 Aug at 11:40 pm

    Sounds delicious! I love heirloom tomatoes and you can’t go wrong with avocado!


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