Serves 3-4 people
1lb heirloom tomatoes (different varieties)
8 oz burrata (I love the di Stefano brand)
1 preserved lemon
toasted sesame seeds
herbs (like sorel, parsley, or chives)
basil, a few springs (I used piccolo basil but any variety is great)
Slice the tomatoes with a serrated knife and arrange carefully on a plate.
Using a spoon, place blobs of burrata around the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes and cheese 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 juice of half a fresh lemon into a bowl . Give it a good stir. This helps to disperse the flavors into the olive oil and brightens it with the lemon juice.
Finish the tomatoes and cheese with spoonfuls of the dressing, sesame seeds and ripped basil leaves and herbs.
This is one of many, many ways to make a tomato salad. The key is balance and use what’s on hand. Find something creamy/cheesey (burrata, ricotta, feta), aromatic herbs (basil, parsley, chives, oregano), acidic (lemon juice/zest, vinegars), salt/briney (preserved lemon, olives, capers, anchovy), and crunchy (sesame seeds, nuts, toasted bread crumbs) and bring it all together with salt and olive oil. It’s a fun way to experiment different flavors, tastes, and cultures.