Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad
Our fresh and simple Heirloom Tomato Salad with Wine-Balsamic Reduction recipe becomes a fancy meal when served in a Parmesan Basket and paired with a Brunello di Montalcino. Living in Southern California these past years we are amazed at the year around abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, and are glad to try different varietals of organic fare.

Ever since we discovered a large wooden basket full of vibrant orange, yellow, green and deep bordeaux colored ripe heirlooms at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market we both went on an Heirloom quest. As you know we are developing our recipes and cooking with one thing in mind: How will the food play with wine!
Heirloom Tomato Salad Recipe

So here are some interesting facts as to why we love these Heirlooms so much:

1) they are deeper in flavor

2) more robust in texture

3) less seeds to worry about

4) hold up the shape if sliced

5) less acidic so they are more wine friendly and you can pair it with lots of different grape varietals

6) they all have great names like Brandywine, golden jubilee, garden peach

7) lots of different colors make your dish more exciting and did we mentioned that with a simple tomato salad you can bring summer to your table, well at least a little ambiance and they go so well with roasted meats. As to the heirloom tomato and wine pairing it really depends on your dressing, we do love to use a Wine-Balsamic reduction with honey, because it gives a mild tangy sweet flavor which you can pair with white or red wines.

And with all that  touting for the heirloom, feel free to make this salad with a gorgeous regular red tomato. We even sneaked one in just for touch of vibrant red color.

What you need: Heirloom Tomatoes, a Shallot, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Red Wine-Balsamic Reduction (we will share the recipe), Olive Oil, Basil Leaves, soft Chèvre Goat Cheese, and the adorable Parmesan Baskets (recipe is given on the linking page)

We made the Parmesan Baskets first and set those aside to cool. For the basket use Shreeded Parmesan cheese and a little Pecorino cheese for flavor.

Slice the shallot really fine and place in a large glass bowl. (Judit is slicing the shallots because they make Corina cry)

Cut each tomato into 8 to 10 wedges (the smaller ones are cut into 2 or 4 pieces).

Once the tomatoes are done transfer to your salad bowl.



Add a little salt.

Add the freshly ground pepper.

Pour on the olive oil.

Drizzle on the wine reduction.

Combine gently.

Now it’s arugula time. Add a little arugula to the tomatoes and mix gently.

Add the fresh torn basil leaves and toss again gently.

Get your Parmesan Baskets out.

Fill the bottom of the basket with the fresh arugula. Make sure your arugula is dry before placing in the basket.

Spoon the heirloom tomato salad into the basket on top of the arugula.

Add little pieces  of goat cheese.

Decorate with some pretty basil leaves.

Pair the salad with a red wine like Stolpman Sangiovese or Castiglion edl Bosco Brunello di Montalcino or any sangiovese you prefer.

We love this fresh and healthy salad and have made it several times in the last week. (Corina conveniently forgot she already took step-by-step photos so we made it again) The Parmesan Basket is an impressive presentation for guests and even for a romantic Valentine’s Dinner.

Here is the complete recipe:

Heirloom Tomato Salad

4 -8  Heirloom Tomatoes – variety of colors if possible – cut

1 Shallot – finely diced

1 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 tsp Black Pepper – freshly ground

1 Tbsp Red Wine-Balsamic Reduction

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

4 large Basil Leaves – torn into pieces

2 oz soft Chèvre Goat Cheese

8 small basil leaves for decorating


1) Slice the shallot really fine and place in a large glass bowl.

2) Slice each tomato into 8 to 10 wedges (the smaller ones into 2 or 4 pieces) and transfer to your salad bowl

3) Add the salt, black pepper, olive oil and the wine reduction. Combine gently

4) Add the arugula and fresh torn basil leaves and toss again gently

5) Fill the bottom of the basket with the fresh arugula

6) Spoon on the heirloom tomato salad into Parmesan Basket and add little pieces  of goat cheese. Decorate with basil leaves.

Serve immediately because the basket will get soggy from the juices of the salad. Enjoy with a glass of red wine like Stolpman Sangiovese or Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino.

And here is our step-by-step recipe for the Heriloom Tomato Salad. Hope you enjoy it!

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