We're not wild about most tomato varieties. We find them either too bland and hard, or too acidic for our tastes. This has been an enduring issue since childhood. But last weekend we bought half a dozen Momotaro tomatoes from Yatsutomi Farms at the Hollywood farmers market. They have a nice meaty texture, are low in acid and with just the right balance of sweetness. Perfect. We used three of them for tartines and left the remaining three on our kitchen counter, where they became a little over-ripe from the hot weather we've been having here in Los Angeles. Our bad.

No, we don't have plans to preserve three tomatoes or make a ¼ cup of tomato sauce. We don't want to turn the oven or stove at all today. We don't even want someone else's body heat near us today. In fact, we're not even in the mood to execute fancy French knife cuts. So, we made a chilled tomato salad drizzled with Shear rock farms mission olive oil.

You'll want a lot of good bread to soak up the tomato juices. For a restaurant presentation, we would juice the tomatoes and carefully cut the remaining ingredients into itty bitty French knife cuts and serve it as a California inspired “gazpacho” that Elina Shatkin might like. Shear Farms mission olive oil has a buttery ripe olive flavor with a mild green finish that complements the sweet tang of Momotaro tomatoes; Spanish arbequina olive oil would also pair well with this simple salad. We prefer triple cream brie served on the side with bread, but burrata, ricotta insalata, or mitica goat cheese would be nice too.

Chilled Tomato Salad

From: Farid Zadi

Notes: If you're hungry for more protein in this salad, add six or so pieces of chilled cooked shrimp.

Makes: 2 servings for a light meal or 4 servings as side dish.

3 medium Momotaro tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into cubes

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup Shear Rock Farms California mission olive oil

1 small small shallot, finely chopped (optional)

1. Place cut tomatoes in a bowl, sprinkle with approximately 1 teaspoon salt, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a reusable lid, and chill in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes. The technical term for this is dégorger.

2. Remove tomatoes from the refrigerator, add cucumbers, avocado, olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Gently mix the ingredients together, you don't want to bruise the vegetables, taste, adjust seasoning if desired.

Farid Zadi is the Dean of Culinary Arts at Ecole de Cuisine. You can follow him on twitter or join him on Facebook.

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