This fruity tomato salad is a lovely combination of fresh, sweet, sour and spicy: tomatoes, Cantaloupe melon, golden berries, kumquats, endives, chili and golden fried garlic chips. And a tangy yuzu-tsuyu vinaigrette that makes it even better!
Summer on my mind
It was snowing last week. And it’s April. Enough with this already, winter be gone! Craving for sunshine and the sound of melting snow, I started fantasizing about summer. If it’s not yet around me, at least I could have summer on a plate! I gave myself the permission to buy what ever my heart desires, and wandered off to Hakaniemi market hall. I came across some organic kumquats, red endives, and sticky fresh garlic, with an aroma that filled the air. I stuffed my bag with tomatoes, golden berries and Cantaloupe melon, and started dreaming about a fruity tomato salad…
All the steamy details
As I got home, I was extremely pleased with all my impulse buys. This will be the salad of all salads! Juicy tomatoes (not in season but I found some good ones), aromatic kumquats, sweet sweet melon and that lovely fresh pop of the golden berries. And a vinaigrette so good, I’d drink it! Yuzu juice, kombu tsuyu, garlic oil, fish sauce…
Ahhhhhh h h h h h ! ! !
The salty, tangy, sour, sweet and hot plateful I had in mind instantly reminded me of the summer of 2016, when Finland was suffering of an extreme heatwave. The yellow press dubbed it as #SEKSIHELLE – “sex heat”. LOL, aptly named, since people were definitely both hot and heavy about all that heat, as well as hot and bothered (I’m the latter, I can’t stand heat!). By the way, behind that link above, you can find an old blog post of mine, with a culinary interpretation of “seksihelle”. Funny enough I discovered only years later that my “recipe” was posted by the yellow press, under the title of “Suosikkibloggarin ohje – tältä maistuu seksihelle” (“Favorite blogger’s recipe – this is how seksihelle tastes like”). Favorite blogger, who me?
It was a good summer, and a good salad.
Food photography love
I spent some time admiring and photographing all my lovely ingredients the next day. Or to be completely honest… I spent the whole day photographing. This kind of thing happens to me often… I mean, if I give myself the permission to buy all the lovely fresh produce I desire, it’s only clear the permission includes a day of photographing what I buy. There’s no way I can make the coveted salad until I’ve captured each ingredient from multiple angles. And I can’t eat the coveted salad either, until I’ve photographed it from multiple angles.
Needless to say, by the time I finally got to eating, I was famished.
Confessions of a reckless veggie lover
I actually wrote a short text out of that shoot day, illustrated with some of these photographs you can see in this blog post. The title of that text is “Mind:full” and you can read it from my friend Eva’s Creative by Nature journal. This PDF publication is going live on April 17th and you get to read it for free by subscribing to Eva’s Fleur Rustique newsletter. You’ll also get access to Eva’s seasonal Lightroom presets!
I contributed to the last Creative with nature issue, with a text I’ve now published also here on my blog: Confessions of a reckless veggie lover. I’m not perhaps the best of writers, but it has been extremely fun getting out of my comfort zone! It took me ages to get that first text written, and by now I’m already slightly embarrassed by it. But with this newest text I’m still feeling proud of my work! The issue is filled with work from a super talented bunch of creatives around the world, so I highly recommend checking it out ♥
But let’s get back to the topic of dream salad. This fruity tomato salad I came up with really does remind me of summer. We’ve eaten it so many time since I first made it, and I honestly feel it’s one of my favorite salads ever! It’s got the perfect combination of hot, sour and sweet, as well as salty like the sweat trickling down my neck… I hope you’ll love it as much as I do, if you give it a go!
Fruity tomato salad
- 3 large ripe tomatoes
- 300 g Cantaloupe-melon (or honeydew)
- 100 g goldenberries
- 10 kumquats (or limequats)
- 2 red endives
- 5-6 large cloves of garlic
- 1 dl extra virgin olive oil
- ½-1 mieto punainen chili
- 2 tbsp yuzu juice (or lime juice)
- 2 tbsp kombu tsuyu (or 1 tbsp light soy sauce + 1 tbsp mirin)
- 3 tbsp garlic oil
- 2 tsp (vegan) fish sauce
- 1 tsp agave syrup
- Kombu tsuyu is a japanese stock concentrate, which is also used as a dip. Kombu tsuyu can be served to vegetarians and vegans, as long as it's not conatining any katsuobushi aka fish.
- If you can't access tsuyu, mix 1 part light soy sauce with 1 part mirin. Or make your own! You can find a recipe for homemade tsuyu here.
- Fish sauce can be swapped to vegan fish sauce. A bit similar salty funky flavor can also be achieved with the liquid of salt preserved lemons!
- If you can't access kumquats, you can also use limequats. Of course other citrus fruits work too, but I'd recommend adding in some zest to get that aromatic flavor the kumquat and limequat have, since they're eaten whole. Also salt preserved lemon works, you'll just need to add it in very small amount and adjust the salinity of the vinaigrette accordingly.
Crispy fried garlic
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Aim for even slices! Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and fry until golden, mixing often. Do not burn the garlic! I'd rather take it off the heat too soon than too late.
- Save the garlic flavored oil and leave it to cool, and spread out the golden garlic chips on kitchen paper.
- Peel, wash and halve the goldenberries. Wash the kumquats and slice them thinly, removing the seeds. De-seed and peel the melon, chopping it to bite sized pieces. Chop up also the tomatoes and thinly slice the endives.
- Mince the desired amount of chili finely (remove the seeds if you want!). Mix the chili with the yuzu juice, kombu tsuyu, (vegan) fish sauce, agave syrup and the garlicky oil. You won't need all the oil, save the rest for other savory applications, storing it in the fridge.
- Add all the salad ingredients on two plates of bowls. Drizzle over the yuzu tsuyu vinaigrette as well as the golden crispy garlic chips. Serve immediately!