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Old Fashioned Tomato Salad

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER
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Introduction

This tomato salad is all you need for a summer starter. What I do is take the tomatoes out into the garden, uncut, on a flat plate or two, for an hour before I want to make the salad: it takes any chill off them and makes them taste somehow more tomatoey. Cherry tomatoes perhaps sound new-fangled rather than old-fashioned, but I'm coming to that. For the dressing is, and I refuse to apologise for it, nothing more nor less than that great - though, now that we live in the extra-virgin age, greatly discredited - item from the English culinary canon, Salad Cream. Banish all childhood memories of sick-flavoured gloop in a jar: this is worlds and E-additives apart. The recipe I give for it is by and large adapted from Margaret Costa: I have substituted tarragon vinegar, which I prefer here, but do use cider vinegar, as she stipulates, if you want. Any leftover salad cream can be stored in the fridge in an old jam jar; indeed you may find you want to make double the amount below, so well will it go down.

This tomato salad is all you need for a summer starter. What I do is take the tomatoes out into the garden, uncut, on a flat plate or two, for an hour before I want to make the salad: it takes any chill off them and makes them taste somehow more tomatoey. Cherry tomatoes perhaps sound new-fangled rather than old-fashioned, but I'm coming to that. For the dressing is, and I refuse to apologise for it, nothing more nor less than that great - though, now that we live in the extra-virgin age, greatly discredited - item from the English culinary canon, Salad Cream. Banish all childhood memories of sick-flavoured gloop in a jar: this is worlds and E-additives apart. The recipe I give for it is by and large adapted from Margaret Costa: I have substituted tarragon vinegar, which I prefer here, but do use cider vinegar, as she stipulates, if you want. Any leftover salad cream can be stored in the fridge in an old jam jar; indeed you may find you want to make double the amount below, so well will it go down.

Old Fashioned Tomato Salad
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 6

Metric Cups
  • 500 grams cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • ¼ teaspoon english mustard (or a pinch of mustard powder)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 250 millilitres full fat milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • chives (or green parts of spring onions / scallions)
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • ¼ teaspoon english mustard (or a pinch of mustard powder)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • ¼ cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • chives (or green parts of spring onions / scallions)

Method

  1. Half fill a sink with cold water.
  2. Combine the mustard, flour and sugar, with about a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper, in a heavy-based saucepan. Add a little of the milk and stir to mix to a smooth paste, then put on a gentle heat and keep adding the milk, and stirring as you do so. I find my Magiwhisk the best thing to banish lumpiness here, but it's not a difficult operation whatever you use.
  3. When all the milk's in, add the beaten egg and vinegar and keep on whisking until it's beginning to thicken. When the mixture's got the texture of single cream, whisk in the oil then plunge the pan in the sink of cold water and continue whisking for a while.
  4. When it's cool (you can pour into a bowl then put the bowl over ice if you want speedy cooling), cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on one huge plate or two fairly large ones.
  5. Drizzle a few spoonfuls over (don't drench: think Jackson Pollock) then add some chopped spring onions or chives. Unexpected heaven.
  1. Half fill a sink with cold water.
  2. Combine the mustard, flour and sugar, with about a teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper, in a heavy-based saucepan. Add a little of the milk and stir to mix to a smooth paste, then put on a gentle heat and keep adding the milk, and stirring as you do so. I find my Magiwhisk the best thing to banish lumpiness here, but it's not a difficult operation whatever you use.
  3. When all the milk's in, add the beaten egg and vinegar and keep on whisking until it's beginning to thicken. When the mixture's got the texture of single cream, whisk in the oil then plunge the pan in the sink of cold water and continue whisking for a while.
  4. When it's cool (you can pour into a bowl then put the bowl over ice if you want speedy cooling), cut the tomatoes in half and arrange on one huge plate or two fairly large ones.
  5. Drizzle a few spoonfuls over (don't drench: think Jackson Pollock) then add some chopped spring onions or chives. Unexpected heaven.

Tell us what you think

What 1 Other has said

  • Mum would use the larger vine tomatoes and toasted, buttered bread cut in to tiny squares. Added, it's the best "salad". Light and refreshingly tasty. A glass of Alexia 2009 is lovely to sip.

    Posted by clicquet on 9th August 2011
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