My Master Gardener good neighbor brought me a bag of grape tomatoes and green tomatoes that will ripen in a few days. Coincidentally, I had been looking at this tomato salad in the new issue of Sunset Magazine. Of course I had to give it a try. Red, green and yellow tomatoes were cut in slices, wedges and halves to make it interesting. Some slivers of red onion gave it a gentle bite and oven roasted, smashed baby potatoes set it off well. Those potatoes are destined to be a house favorite. You can see a little of the base of creamy feta made by blending feta with buttermilk to get the desired creamy consistency. A touch of sumac was just the right touch.
TOMATO SALAD WITH CRISPY POTATOES AND CREAMY FETA
Serves 4 – 6;
Prep and cook 1-1/2 hours and worth it!
1 lb. baby potatoes
About ½ tsp salt
About 1’2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425°. Scrub and dry potatoes and heap on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt and pour on ½ cup olive oil. Turn to coat well and spread in an even layer and roast until crisp – 25-30 minutes. Turn every 10 minutes or so to be sure they are evenly coated with oil.
Remove potatoes from oven and test with a fork, when soft enough to pierce, press with a potato masher to flatten them. If needed season lightly with salt and drizzle with more oil, if needed. Return to oven and roast until browned and very crisp – another 20–25 minutes, turning over halfway through. Set aside to cool.
7 oz. feta, preferably sheep’s milk, crumbled to yield about 11/2 cups
1 to 4 Tbsp well-shaken 2% buttermilk
11/2 tsp. sumac (available at middle eastern groceries)
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
While potatoes roast, make the feta sauce. In a food processor, blend feta a few seconds to break it down. With blade spinning, slowly add buttermilk to make the sauce thick and smooth as crème fraiche. Scrape sides and bottom of processor with a rubber spatula if necessary and blend just until smooth. Blend in sumac. Add salt and pepper to taste.
1/1/4 heirloom tomatoes cut into wedges and/or thick slices.
2 Tbsp thinly sliced red onion
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1Tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves and chervil leaves
¼ cup small to medium basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
Assemble salad: In a large bowl, toss tomato pieces, red onion, red onion and crispy potatoes (include any oil left in pan) with vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread feta sauce on a large serving platter and arrange tomato and potato mixture on top. Shingle in herbs and finish with a drizzle of oil.