I think I get more excited about summer tomatoes than the back to school sale at Old Navy. Seriously. I wait all year for their arrival. And heirlooms? Colorful, unique, juicy, sweet heirlooms? My heart skips a beat- don’t even get me started.
A while back, I saw Jamie Oliver make this mouthwatering tomato salad on one of his cooking shows.
According to memory, he was in the middle of Spain somewhere (in a hay field?) and he did the coolest thing to his salad; he added chorizo. I’ve never seen that done before! He seared the chorizo with garlic slices and vinegar to create this warm, sticky vinaigrette. Drool. Then he poured the whole thing over juicy, ripe tomatoes. Drool. Drool. I pleaded with my brain to remember this somehow so that I could make a version at home. I usually keep my tomato salad pretty basic, but I have to say, this was beyond fantastic. Smoky chorizo + juicy tomatoes = salad heaven.
And, because I just can’t help myself…
I transformed another version into an herby/chickpea/goat cheese masterpiece! Slightly obsessed.
* Chorizo is a flavorful, spiced pork sausage seasoned with paprika. There are several varieties to choose from including fresh, dried, Mexican-style, spicy, etc. I use the common Spanish-style chorizo that is smoked and fully-cooked (think hot dog). This variety is also available uncooked, which you can use as well. Just make sure to check the label!
* It is best to store your tomatoes on the counter top as they will continue to ripen this way. Don’t keep them in the fridge.
- 1 lb. assorted heirloom tomatoes, large & small
- 1 pint colorful cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 Spanish-stlye chorizo (raw or cooked, not dried)*
- 1 garlic clove
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar + more to taste
- salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp. fresh chives
- ½ c. basil leaves
- ½x 14 oz. can of chickpeas (rinsed + drained)
- ⅓ c. goat cheese, crumbled
- shaved red onion
- ¼ c. mint leaves
- Cut the heirloom and cherry tomatoes into quarters, slices, and large chunks. The idea is to have all different shapes and sizes. Add to a large bowl.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and add a generous pinch (or two) of salt. Toss gently with your hands. Leave the tomatoes to sit for about 15-30 minutes for the salt to draw out the natural tomato juices. This will be part of your vinaigrette.
- Slice your chorizo into ¼ ” rounds, or you can dice them into small chunks (for a hint of flavor). Set aside.
- Warm a splash of olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the chorizo and saute until most of the fat is rendered but the sausage is still soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Lower the heat and grate your garlic directly into the pan.
- Add the balsamic vinegar.
- Remove from the heat and stir well. Pour the warm vinaigrette over the tomatoes.
- Finely chop the chives and tear up the basil leaves with your hands (this prevents bruising). Add to the bowl. Note: if making the herby/ chickpea version, add the ingredients above.
- Gently toss the tomato salad. Give it a taste, and adjust seasoning with extra balsamic vinegar and salt if necessary.