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Recipe: Heston’s super-posh tomato salad

Heston Blumenthal's Hind's Head Bray Tomato Salad

Salad days are here again, and the peeps at The Hind’s Head in Bray have given us the recipe to their Michelin star Tomato Salad – a dish supposedly so simple and yet mine never tastes this good. Make sure you set aside two days to make it (yes, really).

TOMATO SALAD

(Serves 2)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg Cuore del Vesuvio tomatoes (Italian beefsteak tomato)
  • 200ml Rapeseed oil
  • 550g Basil
  • 500g Grapeseed oil
  • 5g Olive oil
  • Lemon (juice for seasoning)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crusty bread
  • Clarified butter
  • 100g Goats curd
  • 2 Datterino vine tomatoes cut in half (small sweet red plum tomato)
  • 3 Datterino yellow tomatoes cut in half (small sweet yellow plum tomato)
  • 1 Baby gem lettuce
  • 1 Red Chicory
  • 1 White Chicory
  • Rainbow radishes

METHOD

THE DAY BEFORE

Prep the tomatoes

The day before you plan to serve your salad, wash the beefsteak tomatoes under cold running water. Place the washed tomatoes onto a large flat tray lined with kitchen roll to absorb any excess water. Cut them into quarters, making sure to remove and discard the eyes of the tomatoes.

Place the prepped tomatoes into an airtight container with the rapeseed oil and basil. Place in the fridge for 24 hours. 

Make basil oil

First, wash 500g of basil in cold water. Pick the leaves, discarding the stalks. Place a large pot of water on high heat and allow to come to a boil. Have a bowl of ice and water with a colander submerged in it.

Split the picked basil leaves into 2 batches. Blanch each batch for 5 seconds and immediately plunge into the ice water bath. Drain the blanched basil leaves and squeeze as much of the water as possible.

Place the leaves in between sheets of kitchen paper and press down with a chopping board to remove any excess water. Finely chop the leaves and place in the blender. Blitz to a smooth puree. Pass through a fine sieve and reserve. 

Now take your basil puree, and add the 500g of grapeseed oil into the jug of a blender. Blitz on medium speed for 3 minutes, stop the blender and scrape the sides of the jug. Continue to blitz for a further 1 minute. Set up a strainer over a bowl lined with a double layer of wet muslin. Transfer the basil oil onto the double layer of muslin and cover with cling film.

Place into the fridge and leave for 24 hours. Gently squeeze the basil purée that is left in the muslin to pass through any excess oil (be careful not to pass any basil pulp through into the oil). Discard of the basil pulp and muslin.

BEFORE SERVING

For the tomato dressing

To make the dressing, place 25g of the basil-infused oil in a small bowl with 5g of olive oil, season with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk to emulsify. Adjust the seasoning as needed. 

For the Croutons

Tear the crusty bread into 1 cm by 1cm pieces. Place a non-stick frying pan onto the stove over a med-low heat. Add enough clarified butter to cover the bottom of the pan. Once melted, add the pieces of broken up pieces of bread. Continue to stir the pieces of bread so they evenly coloured.

Once the croutons are light and golden in colour remove them from the frying pan. (the croutons should be slightly chewy in the middle) Place the croutons onto a metal tray lined with kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. 

Assemble each portion

  • 2 x marinated tomato quarters
  • 50g Goats curd
  • 1 Datterino vine tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 and ½ Datterino yellow tomatoes cut in half
  • 3 leaves Baby Gem lettuce
  • 2 leaves Red Chicory
  • 2 leaves White Chicory
  • Bread croutons
  • Slices of rainbow radish

Remove the marinated tomatoes from the container onto a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain any excess oil. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Place the goat’s curd on a plate or platter. Arrange the tomatoes, radish and leaves around. Sprinkle some of the croutons on top and drizzle some of the basil dressing. Et voila!

Find more ideas here

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