From a recipe by Dan Barber in Great Chefs Cook Vegan, Linda Long, Gibbs Smith, 2008.
I had hesitated for some time before moving to make this salad. It looked as though it was a lot of work for a salad. It was—but it was certainly worth it.
It took me three days of preparation before it was ready. The first day I made a confit of tomatoes. I took 6 tomatoes, peeled them and cut them in half and deseeded them. They were placed in a baking dish, cut side down. Over them I sprinkled a few thyme leaves, a chopped garlic clove, a pinch of sugar, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper. They went into a 100ºC oven for 4 hours. When done, a little more olive oil was dribbled on and they went into the refrigerator. That was the first day’s preparation done.
The second day, the confit tomatoes were pureed with the juice of half a lemon, about ¼ cup icing sugar, a handful of mint leaves finely sliced, a pinch of salt and a few thyme leaves. The mixture went into a tray and into the freezer to set. Every few hours it was taken out and beaten a little to break up the icy bits. That was the second day done.
The third day I was able to put the salad together. A large tomato was sliced into centimetre slices. Some watermelon was sliced and cut to match the tomato slices. Small batons were cut of watermelon, rock melon and honeydew melon. Some small heirloom tomatoes were cut into different shapes. Some sundried tomatoes were sliced into thin pieces. The tomatoes were now placed on a plate and sprinkled with a little raspberry vinegar, a little white wine vinegar and some virgin olive oil. A little seasoning was added. Now a grill was heated up to high and the melon pieces were grilled on one side.
The salad was put together, being built up on the tomato slices. It was topped with a quenelle of tomato sorbet.
I’m so glad I finally got enough courage to get going and make this salad. The sorbet turned out to be richly savoury, zinging with flavour that highlighted all of the other ingredients: the smoky sweet melons, the fresh heirloom tomatoes, the tangy vinegars. There’s sorbet left so I’ll be able to see what it can do to enliven some other salads.
Ease of cooking: ✔