Pluots, a fruit that's a cross between a Japanese plum and an apricot, make a great compliment to juicy, flavor-rich tomatoes. Use plums or nectarines in place of pluots if you can’t find them.
Preserved lemons, featured in the dressing, are created curing by lemons in salt, sometimes with other spices. You use only the skins of the lemon, not the pulp or juice. They’re often an ingredient in North African cuisine and are available at Middle Eastern specialty stores and gourmet shops.
1 pound multi-colored tomatoes, such as Jaune Flame and Green Zebra
2 to 3 ripe pluots, plums, or nectarines
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 preserved lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Basil, a few springs
Wild fennel flowers (optional), or another herb (fennel tops, parsley, mint)
Slice the tomatoes and pluots and arrange them on a plate. Season them lightly with salt.
Preserved lemons are created using lemons, salt, and lots of time. You use the skins of the lemon, not the pulp/juice. They’re often used in North African cuisine but you can use them anywhere you would use salt. So anywhere. Clean the preserved lemon with your fingers by discarding the pulp and rinsing the skins under water to remove excess salt. Use half of the lemon. Cut the lemon peel into thin strips, turn it 90 degrees, and then cut into fine dice.
Make the dressing by adding the chopped preserved lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar. Give it a good stir. This helps to disperse the flavors into the olive oil and brightens it with vinegar.
Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and pluots.
Finish the salad by tearing the basil and placing it on top as well as the fennel flowers. Crack black pepper on top.
The sweet stone fruit is a great compliment to juicy, flavor-rich tomatoes. Use peaches or nectarines in place of pluots if they taste better. Because these salads only have a few ingredients, use great quality, in-season, and tasty produce.