This dish is an homage to my southern grandmother, who often made a supper out of ripe tomatoes she grew in her yard and creamy mayonnaise. To this day, these are two of my favorite ingredients to combine. My grandparents loved seafood, too, and they hosted big crab boils in their yard, so this salad is a kind of mash-up of those memories. It’s also no secret that my nickname is the Condiment Queen, and this recipe shows why: it features two sauces that come together in a beautiful way.
Make this salad in the summer when sugary Sungold cherry tomatoes are in season—they yield a sweet dressing that plays well with the bright, acidic heirloom tomatoes. The rémoulade is basically glorified tartar sauce, but the fried capers add an unexpected element of crunch if you fold them in at the last second. Although the finished dish is saucy and perhaps a bit messy, it still somehow tastes refreshing, like summer on a plate.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Sungold cherry tomatoes
- 1 rounded tablespoon sliced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey (preferably local and wild; see honey)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Fried Caper Rémoulade
- 4 ounces fresh-cooked crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
- Chive batons, for garnish
- Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- MAKE THE DRESSING In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to burst, about 1 minute. Be attentive to splattering. Add the garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Cook until the garlic is soft and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the honey and watch for it to make large bubbles, 15 to 20 seconds. Add the vinegar and remove from the heat.
- Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt into the tomato purée. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Set the dressing aside.
- MAKE THE SALAD Slice the heirloom tomatoes about ¼ inch thick and sprinkle the slices with the salt and pepper. Put 1 tablespoon of the dressing in the center of each of four small salad plates. Evenly divide the tomato slices and place them on top of each pool of dressing. Spoon 1½ tablespoons of the rémoulade in the center of the tomatoes slices, and arrange the crabmeat on top, dividing it evenly. Garnish with the chive batons and edible flowers, sprinkle with pepper, and serve immediately.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender and blend on high speed for 20 to 30 seconds, until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl to remove any solids.