Todd Richard’s Heirloom Tomato Salad

heirloom tomato salad
Todd Richard’s heirloom tomato salad from his book “Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution” Photo: Greg Dupree

A great dish is about taking what you have and elevating it to something soulful, prompting everyone to ask, “What’s in this?” This Heirloom Tomato Salad features lavender, which has mint and basil-like qualities but also adds a flavor note most identified with France. If we dismiss the French influence on Soul cuisine, we might as well ignore New Orleans. Print

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heirloom tomato salad

Todd Richard’s Heirloom Tomato Salad

  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 2 Brandywine, Black Krim, or other heirloom tomatoes (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
  • 4 Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, or other heirloom tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1⁄4 cup (2 ounces) Herb Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 12 dried culinary lavender flowers
  • 8 pea tendrils or baby arugula leaves
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Makes about 3 cups
  • 1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, halved lengthwise
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) aged red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon wildflower honey
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Cut the large tomatoes into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. (Reserve ends for another use, such as making tomato sauce.) Cut the small tomatoes into quarters. Arrange 2 to 4 tomato slices on each of 4 plates. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the Herb Vinaigrette.
  2. Press the lavender flowers with the edge of a knife until they split. Sprinkle the tomato slices with some of the lavender. Top each salad with 4 to 6 tomato wedges. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle evenly with more lavender.
  3. Top the salads with pea tendrils, and sprinkle evenly with the salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 1⁄4 cup of the oil in a saucepan over medium. Add the shallot. Brown 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat.
  6. Stir in vinegar. Cover, place over low heat, and cook until the shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender. Add the mustard, lemon juice, honey, thyme, and salt. Process on low speed 2 minutes until smooth.
  7. Remove center of the blender lid. With blender on low speed, slowly add the remaining 1⁄4 cup oil through the center of the blender lid and process until emulsified.
  8. Stir in the parsley.
  9. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Southern



soul cookbook todd richards

Excerpted from Soul by Chef Todd Richards. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.