This dish is all about the ingredients. If you use the best-quality ingredients this salad will sing sweet summer. The dried oregano is a southern Italian touch. If you can’t find Armenian cucumbers you can use another variety, but if you do, peel them before slicing.
Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Celery Salad
6 heirloom tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purple or Brandywine
4 anchovies, rinsed and each cut into 4 equal pieces
Fleur de sel, to taste
2 Armenian cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) half-moons
1 heart of celery, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices
1 Tbs. finely diced shallot
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) top-quality red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
Leaves from a heart of celery for garnish
Cut the tomatoes into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. If the tomatoes are large, cut the slices in half to make half-moons. Arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter in a single layer. Evenly scatter the anchovy pieces on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle with fleur de sel to taste (the crunchy salt adds a nice pop to this salad).
In a bowl, toss together the cucumbers, heart of celery and shallot. Add the olive oil, vinegar and oregano and toss to evenly coat the vegetables. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the cucumber mixture on top of the tomatoes and anchovies. Spoon the vinaigrette left in the bottom of the bowl evenly on top of the salad. Garnish with the celery leaves and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Ari Rosen, Co-Owner and Chef, Scopa, Healdsburg, CA