When summer tomatoes are at their peak, this is the salad you want to make! Simple yet incredibly delicious, this Ballymaloe Summer Tomato Salad may just be the best thing you eat all season!
I've been sharing a few Irish recipes over the past few weeks in preparation for an Ireland trip that Scott and I were planning. And now, we're actually there, I'm writing this post from the beautiful Emerald Isle with yet another Irish-inspired recipe to share. This Ballymaloe Summer Tomato Salad is super simple and, at the same time, so incredibly delicious. It has a fun story too!
What is Ballymaloe?
This Ballymaloe Summer Tomato Salad is adapted from a recipe from one of Darina Allen's cookbooks, Simply Delicious. If you're not familiar with Darina Allen, she (along with her mother-in-law, Myrtle Allen and daughter-in-law, Rachel Allen) has been a leader in the movement of revolutionizing Irish cuisine, taking it from dull and uninteresting to fresh, vibrant and delicious. These women are the pioneers of the farm to table movement in Ireland.
Ballymaloe began as a restaurant founded by Myrtle Allen in 1964. Later, it also became a hotel which is internationally acclaimed and has won numerous awards over the years including Conde Nast's Gold, a list of the World’s top 100 hotels. The restaurant/hotel, located in the beautiful rural countryside of southern Ireland continually receives International recognition as home to the best modern Irish cuisine. I love that that, to this day, the menus are changed daily to include the seasonal vegetables grown on the farm and fish caught that day in the nearby Celtic sea.
In 1983, Darina Allen opened the Ballymaloe School of Cookery which is located on a nearby 100-acre organic farm including greenhouses, herb, fruit and vegetable gardens. Darina was later joined by daughter-in-law Rachel. Over the years, Ballymaloe School of Cookery has gained international fame and become a destination for students from far and wide.
A dream come true
I can't remember when I first became familiar with Ballymaloe, but it's been a dream of mine to study at the Ballymaloe Cookery School for many years. It's not often that dreams come true - but here I am in Ireland in the middle of a week-long "intensive cookery class" at the Ballymaloe School! I can't tell you how excited I am each day to join my fellow students from as far away as Australia and as close as 20 miles down the road in Cork, Ireland.
We'll be sharing more about the Ballymaloe Cookery School in another post and lots of pics that Scott's been snapping of the beautiful gardens and surrounding farm, but for today, on to this delcious summer tomato salad!
A quintessential summer salad
You definitely want to make this summer tomato salad soon! Don't miss this wonderful, fleeting season when tomatoes are in their fabulous prime. I made it several times before leaving for Ireland and it was well-loved by everyone who partook. It's not only delicious, but makes such a beautiful presentation it tends to steal the show!
And one fun note; this salad was served yesterday, on a huge platter, as part of our lunch at the cooking school. The tomatoes and fresh basil had been picked earlier in the day. It was gorgeous and there were lots of oooohs and aaaahs when Darina brought it to the table.
Café Tips for making this Ballymaloe Summer Tomato Salad
- Look for a variety of tomatoes in different colors, sizes and shapes. I like to use heirloom varieties.
- Slice the tomatoes fairly thick or cut into wedges or do some of each. The presentation will be beautiful, no matter how you cut the tomatoes.
- Instead of using the dressing in the recipe below, you can just drizzle the salad with good olive oil and honey and add a sprinkle of sea salt. That's how Darina did it in our class.
- I like to sometimes add slivers of red onion to this salad.
- You can sub other fresh herbs for the basil or use a combination of herbs. Dill, thyme, rosemary and fresh oregano would also be delicious. Use in amounts according to taste.
- The dressing for this salad can be made ahead, however, don't slice the tomatoes and put the salad together until just before serving.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
When summer tomatoes are at their peak, this is the salad you want to make! Simple, yet incredibly delicious, this Ballymaloe Summer Tomato Salad may just be the best thing you eat all season!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- finely grated zest from 1 medium-size lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, chives or parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 large ripe vine tomatoes
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves torn if large
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts optional
- sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.
Cut the tomatoes into slices or wedges. Arrange on a platter.
Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Top with a light sprinkle of sea salt, pine nuts (if using) and the fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Adapted from Simply Delicious
When I was served this salad at Ballymaloe, it was made with a drizzle of good quality olive oil, honey and a sprinkle of sea salt instead of the dressing.
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