Instead of opting for the traditional mozzarella-and-basil combination, this salad draws inspiration from Vietnam, with a punchy vinaigrette, whole leaves of mint and cilantro, and a golden crown of irresistible crispy fried shallots.
By Yankee Magazine
Jun 17 2019
Fresh tomato salads are among the best ways to highlight summer’s most beloved fruit. Instead of opting for the traditional mozzarella-and-basil combination, this salad draws inspiration from Vietnam, with a punchy vinaigrette, whole leaves of mint and cilantro, and a golden crown of irresistible crispy fried shallots.
From “The Jewels of Summer,” July/August 2019
¼ cup fish sauce (such as Three Crabs brand)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Thai chili, stemmed and minced, or half a serrano pepper, stemmed and minced
First, make the dressing: In a small jar with a lid, combine fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, chili, and ¼ cup warm water. Seal and shake vigorously until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. (The dressing will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week, though it gets spicier as it sits.)
2 cups canola oil
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup chopped mint leaves
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Next, make the fried shallots: Pour the oil into a 2- or 3-quart heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat and add the sliced shallots to the cold oil. Line a plate with paper towels and set nearby. Fry the shallots, stirring frequently so they cook evenly, until they begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until they are crisp and an even golden brown (at this stage they can go from nicely browned to overcooked very quickly, so be vigilant). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots to the paper-lined plate. Let the oil cool, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean jar. (Do not discard the oil—it’s liquid gold, great for dressings and sautéed or roasted vegetables.) Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Assemble the salad: Combine the tomatoes and herbs in a serving dish. Drizzle in some dressing and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with salt, if needed. Top with shallots and serve immediately, with any remaining dressing alongside.