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Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herb Vinaigrette


For the vinaigrette:

¼ cup avocado oil or vegetable oil, divided

½ shallot, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoons dijon mustard

½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon wildflower honey

¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the salad:

2 Brandywine, Black Krim, or other heirloom tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)

4 Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, or other heirloom tomatoes (about 1 pound)

¼ cup herb vinaigrette

12 dried culinary lavender flowers

8 pea tendrils, or baby arugula leaves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

“Walking out into the garden and picking whatever’s available—that’s the catalyst for this salad. You might not think of using lavender in a salad, but it grows at the same time as tomatoes and pea shoots.” The vinaigrette makes a cup and half, more than is needed for this recipe. Keep the remainder in the fridge for up to a week.


1. Make the vinaigrette:In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan. Add shallot and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Cover, place over low heat, and cook until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender. Add mustard, lemon juice, honey, thyme, and salt. Process on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove center of blender lid. With blender on low speed, slowly add remaining oil through center of lid and process until emulsified. Stir in parsley. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. 2. Make the salad:Cut large tomatoes into ¼-inch-thick slices. (Reserve ends for another use, such as making tomato sauce.) Cut small tomatoes into quarters.  Arrange two to four tomato slices on each of four plates. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Press the lavender flowers with the edge of a knife until they split. Sprinkle tomato slices with lavender. Top each salad with four to six tomato wedges. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle evenly with more lavender. Top salads with pea tendrils, salt, and pepper.

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