The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim uses their own farm to grow 600 heirloom tomato vines that include over 90 varieties.
The bounty is used in a variety of irresistible ways on the menu, including Heirloom Tomato Salad, Tomato Water, Clear-Bodied Bloody Marys.
Award-winning executive chef, Michael Rossi, shared the recipe for his tomato salad, a version that I think is the best around. Just the thought of it makes me hungry!
The Ranch Heirloom Tomato Salad
Yield: 4 servings
Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
1 shallot, small diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cups vegetable oil
5 to 6 heirloom tomatoes, different sizes and colors, plus a few tiny cherry tomatoes
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, small diced, cooked, drained
1 each yellow sweet onion, small diced, cooked slowly with no color, cooled
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 cup Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled into medium chunks
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Prepare vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, combine shallot, mustard and cider vinegar; add oil in thin stream, whisking constantly.
2. Cut 1 or 2 large heirloom tomatoes into thick slices and layer them on a platter. Cut remaining tomatoes into eights (leave any tiny tomatoes whole); toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Spoon tomatoes over the sliced tomatoes; top with bacon, sweet onion, chives, basil and cheese. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette. Season with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.