I need to eat more salads, and you probably do, too. So I'm launching Salad Daze, a new recurring feature that will bring you the lowdown on great healthy plates around town as well as recipes from local luminaries that can be made at home. We begin with a beautiful offering of heirloom tomatoes from Chef Mark Richardson of Seasons Restaurant. —Tamara Palmer
Heirloom Tomato Salad
By Chef Mark Richardson, Seasons Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
Heirloom tomatoes, five different varieties at room temperature
½ oz fennel, shaved
1 oz Point Reyes blue cheese
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 oz aged balsamic vinegar
5 small basil leaves
Fleur de sel & fresh pepper to taste
Trim the ends of the tomatoes so the core is approximately one and a half inches thick. Use a small round cookie cutter to cut cylinders of the tomato and reserve in a mixing bowl.
Trim the fennel so that you have just the bulb and shave very thin using a mandolin. Place the fennel in ice water to allow to crisp.
Add the oil and vinegar to the mixing bowl with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss well to coat tomatoes. Reserve liquid. Arrange the tomatoes in the center of the plate in a straight line, one inch apart.
Add the crumbled blue cheese in the spaces between the tomatoes. Drain the fennel of all water and place in the mixing bowl with the liquid from the tomatoes; toss well and place on top of the tomatoes. Garnish the top of each tomato with the basil leaves.