Life is full of favorites, and I have lots of them; my favorite band is Ra Ra Riot, my favorite place is Ireland, my favorite flowers are ranunculus, and my favorite salad is this one. My mom started making this salad years ago, and I'm pretty sure it was love at first bite. This salad combines three of my favorite foods: tomatoes, hearts of palm, and bleu cheese. The flavors are bold, tangy, and super addicting; the presentation is elegant and worthy of a double-take; and the preparation is 180 degrees away from being difficult. While this salad thrives in July and August when tomatoes are at their finest, its flavors can withstand any of the seasons. Make this salad for a first course in a multi-course meal or let it steal the show all by its lonesome. Either way, you'll be happy that you invested your tomatoes and time into a salad delicious enough to be called a favorite.
Tomato, Onion, and Hearts of Palm Salad with Bleu Cheese (Serves 4)
4 medium vine-ripe tomatoes
1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, sliced
1 medium white onion, finely sliced with a mandolin
4 ounces crumbled bleu cheese
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Butterfly each of the tomatoes into four equal pieces, making sure to leave each tomato intact at the base.
2. Whisk olive oil and vinegar together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Combine hearts of palm, onions, and vinegar mixture. Adjust seasoning, refrigerate, and let flavors incorporate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Divide the hearts of palm and onion mixture equally and gently spoon into each of the four tomatoes.
5. Top with bleu cheese crumbles and serve immediately.