This tomato salad with whipped ricotta, oregano salsa verde, and summer herbs—from Nightingale’s summer menu—has a variety of different flavour profiles and textures. It highlights the best of the season and still manages to be light and refreshing, as well as slightly decadent. Tomatoes are at the height of the season right now; make sure to visit local Vancouver farmers’ markets early to get first pick. When purchasing tomatoes, they should be heavy for their size, and slightly firm to the touch.
The whipped ricotta and oregano salsa verde can be prepared the day before using, which makes final assembly easy and fun; these two recipes can also be halved for less leftover.
Serves four as an appetizer.
20 cherry tomatoes, sungold varietal if available, halved
2 large heirloom tomatoes, blanched and peeled
15 slices Persian cucumber coins, approximately 0.5 centimetres thick
20 pitted castelvetrano olives
5 leaves of shiso, diced
10 leaves of basil, torn
20 leaves of parsley
8 tablespoons oregano salsa verde (recipe below)
5 ounces whipped ricotta cheese
Maldon salt flakes, to taste
Oregano Salsa Verde
100 grams parsley leaves
100 grams basil leaves
85 grams oregano
30 grams Calabrian chili
100 grams capers
300 grams olive oil
600 grams canola
20 grams kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in large or small blender (I use a Vitamix Vita-Prep).
Puree until smooth but not emulsified. Make sure to plunge as necessary to incorporate all ingredients.
Transfer to an airtight container and reserve.
Whipped Ricotta & Pecorino
1 kilogram ricotta cheese, drained of excess moisture
55 grams pecorino cheese, grated
0.5 of a lemon, zested
7 grams salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Place a dollop of whipped ricotta in the centre of a large shallow serving bowl.
Using the back of a spoon, smear the ricotta until it forms a 0.5-centimetre-thick circle on the bottom of the plate.
Place tomatoes artfully around the ricotta, leaving two centimetres around all sides of the bowl.
Fill in the gaps between the tomatoes with cucumber coins and castelvetrano olives.
Spoon the oregano salsa verde overtop of the tomatoes and vegetables; add as much as desired.
Season lightly with Maldon salt, then add all of the herbs on top.
Garnish with a good lashing of nice olive oil, chili flakes, and more Maldon salt to taste.
Serve immediately and savour the flavours of summer.
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