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Chef David Hawksworth’s 
Heirloom Tomato Salad

tomato salad

A good summer tomato is sweet and tart and utterly irresistible. And the scent! Is there anything more summery than a simple tomato salad with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil?

The only thing to top it?   This incredible tomato salad from Chef David Hawksworth‘s new restaurant Nightingale.  Heirloom tomatoes, cucumber and eggplant, combine with a pistachio salsa verde for a sublime twist on a summer classic.

Chef David Hawksworth 
Heirloom Tomato Salad, Roasted Eggplant, Pistachio Salsa Verde, with Focaccia

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes
20 ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
4 small Persian cucumbers
4 tbsp pistachio salsa verde
4 tbsp roasted eggplant mix (done the day before)
4 tbsp sherry vinegar – good quality
TT Olive oil
TT Sea salt
TT Black Pepper
6 slices (1.5cm thick) focaccia – grilled and rubbed with garlic clove

For the tomatoes:
Score tomatoes with an “X” pattern on the opposite side of stem

Bring a large pot of water to boil

Create an ice-bath to submerge tomatoes in after blanching

Blanch tomatoes one at a time for roughly 20 seconds, or until their skin 
splits along the seams

Extract tomatoes from water, then submerge in the ice-bath to halt cooking 

Peel and core the tomatoes then cut into large pieces

Cut grape tomatoes in half

Place all tomatoes in a shallow bowl and marinate in the refrigerator with the 
sherry vinegar, black pepper and salt for approximately 1 hour before serving

For the cucumbers:
Wash and cut cucumbers into 1.5cm thick discs

Toss with a small amount of sea salt

Leave to purge in a colander at room temperature for 45 minutes

Rinse cucumbers and set aside in fridge

For the eggplant:
Preheat oven to 350F

Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, score in a crosshatch pattern

Rub the inside with a little salt, sliced garlic and thyme

Place eggplant onto a parchment lined roasting tray

Drizzle with 3tbsp of olive oil

Roast for approximately 1 hour, or until eggplants have deflated and are tender

Let rest for approximately 15 minutes, to cool

Scoop flesh out, discard thyme in colander set over a deep bowl overnight, to purge excess moisture

To finish the eggplant:

Chop the eggplant roughly by hand or pulse in food processor

Per 250g of drained eggplant, add the following:

7.5g kosher salt

50g roasted garlic or 5g raw

7.5g Za’atar spice

25g white balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients

Pistachio Salsa Verde

25g capers
20g parsley leaves
12g basil leaves
pinch of chilli flake
100g olive oil
50g raw pistachio, coarsely chopped

Place all ingredients except for pistachios into a blender

Blitz until slightly coarse, but not emulsified

Transfer mixture to a medium sized mixing bowl

Fold chopped nuts through mixture and taste for seasoning


On a large platter, place 5-6 large dollops of the roasted eggplant mixture

Arrange marinated tomatoes and some of their juice around and on top of

the eggplant

Evenly distribute cucumbers around the platter

Spoon small amounts of the pistachio salsa verde on top of the other ingredients

Serve with grilled focaccia on the side

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