A few weeks ago on a Saturday morning, I said to Travis how much I missed sitting around the table in France with my family. Those memories are so vibrant to me. We would sit down at 1 pm or so and not leave until 4 in the afternoon. Yes, three hours sitting around, slowly eating through multiple courses, and talking about anything and everything.
Summers in France are hot. It’s notorious and one way it was always combatted was with cold and fresh plates served at meals. Rarely did we eat something warm during the summer. Dishes often look like various forms of salads, mixtures of meats, and the occasional bbq. If you’ve been to Europe in the summer, you know just how the produce is unlike anything here. The tomatoes are especially sweet, crisp, and juicy.
We grew up on this salad, mostly served by my Mamy (grandmother). It’s honestly one of the easiest recipes, which is why I wanted to start off this series with this. This salad will forever remind me of her. I’m not entirely sure what makes it French, but this is how it is often served in France. There’s no balsamic like an Italian tomato salad or olives like a Greek salad. Just a bright and simple recipe for utilizing fresh ingredients served just the way you’d find it in the countryside of France.
I took her base salad and decided to add a bit of a twist to it, because when you can add cheese, why not? That is what is so great about a summer tomato salad. It can serve as a base for many variations. Over the years at Chez Mamy, I’ve seen eggs, ham, and other proteins added. So I improvised.
So in honor of my Mamy and the wealth of knowledge she bestowed upon me, this first recipe is dedicated to her. Have a look at how to create your very own French tomato salad this summer.
French Tomato Salad Recipe
Ingredients | Serves 4
For the dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar (sherry or red wine works)
1 pinch of salt
For the salad
3-4 medium to large, ripe tomatoes
1 burrata ball
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 small shallot diced
sprigs of fennel greens
Maldon Salt for taste
Make the vinaigrette
Combine olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk until well mixed.
Make the salad
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and evenly place out on the platter. Place burrata in the center. Pour vinaigrette over evenly. Sprinkle across chopped parsley, diced shallot, and fennel greens. Finish with Maldon salt.
You can use other cheeses in lieu of burrata or no cheese at all. If you don’t have a shallot, thinly sliced and diced white onions would work.