I created this recipe in late November as a way to bring some life to late winter tomatoes growing in my California garden. This preparation works beautifully for tomatoes that aren’t in their prime. The toast of heat awakens their flavors for this very late-season salad.
1/3 cup unblanched, raw almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mixed cherry tomatoes, such as Black Cherry and Red Pisa Date
Red wine vinegar
8 ounces burrata
Basil, a few springs
Heat up a cast-iron skillet (or another heavy pan) on medium. Add the almonds, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Let the almonds toast until lightly brown. Add leaves from a sprig of rosemary for the last 30 seconds. Remove the almonds from the pan, let them cool, and give them a rough chop.
Let the pan heat up again and add 2 tablespoons more olive oil and the tomatoes. Give the pan a roll every couple of minutes until the tomato skins start to blister. Season them with salt and a splash of red wine vinegar. You don’t want them to turn to the sauce. When they are just starting to burst open, transfer them to a platter or individual plates.
Using a spoon, place blobs of burrata in and around the blistered tomatoes. Season the burrata with salt. Add torn pieces of basil and the chopped almonds. Finish by zesting half a lemon with a microplane over the top of the salad.