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"I've teamed up tomatoes with one of their best friends, an avocado," explains Sara Moulton, star of "Sara's Weeknight Meals." "But, come to think of it, tomatoes have many best friends. Certainly, there isn't a fresh green herb that doesn't play nicely with tomatoes. That includes the prescribed mint here, as well as basil, cilantro, chives, oregano, dill, parsley and tarragon." She calls this salad her "ode to the tomato," and it also includes thinly sliced serrano chiles, which provide a jolt of heat to counterbalance the tomatoes' sweetness, chopped toasted peanuts and a light, but gutsy ginger-tomato vinaigrette. It's an unusual and refreshing combination that Rach says is "gorgeous!"  

Not surprisingly, Sara has a bunch of tips to share about all-things tomato, and this recipe: 

  1. The best place to shop for tomatoes is at a farm stand or farmers' market. 
  2. You can tell if the fruit is ripe by smelling the stem end—its perfume should basically shout, "Tomato!" 
  3. Once you get home, do not put the tomatoes in the fridge. It will kill their flavor and texture. 
  4. You can heighten a tomato's flavor by pre-salting the cut fruit and letting it drain for about 20 minutes.   
  5. Tomatoes, as shown here, make a great flavorful (and low-fat) base for a vinaigrette. 
  6. The best way to peel ginger is with a spoon. It keeps most of the flesh intact. 
  7. To easily and safely cut an avocado, place it on your work surface and, holding it steady with one hand, cut it "in half" horizontally through to the pit and all the way around. Next, turn the avocado over a quarter turn and repeat the process. The avocado should now be "cut" into quarters. Gently pull each quarter away from the pit, peel away the skin and voila—the flesh is ready to use!  

You can watch her on "Sara's Weeknight Meals" on Public Television.  

For another recipe and more tips from Sara, check out her Eggs Benedict with Asparagus and Foolproof Bearnaise Sauce.

Ingredients

For the Dressing:
  • 1 small ripe tomato (4 to 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • ½ small clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • One 2-inch piece peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably grapeseed
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad: 
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick, plus 1 cup chopped assorted small tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 firm ripe avocado, quartered and sliced (see tip above)
  • ½ to 1 serrano chile, sliced thinly crosswise (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded mint
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted peanuts

Yield

Serves: 4

Preparation

For the dressing, combine the tomato, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, oil and soy sauce in blender and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.  

For the salad, lightly salt the sliced tomatoes and let them drain on a rack for 20 minutes. Toss the chopped tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 20 minutes.  

Arrange alternating slices of the large tomatoes, patted dry, and the avocado on a platter and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sliced tomatoes and avocado with most of the dressing and top them evenly with the chopped tomatoes. Season the chopped tomatoes lightly with pepper and scatter the serrano slices, mint and peanuts evenly on top. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.