Rick Bayless’ Tomato “Carpaccio” Salad

by A.J. Coltrane

The Actual Title is much longer than that — Heirloom Tomato “Carpaccio” With Tomatillo Salad, Avacado and Fresh Herbs. LWN recipe link here.

The recipe:


  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4cup (lightly packed) cilantro leaves
  • 2 1/2tablespoons light vinegar (like cava or rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/4cup good-quality olive oil (or unrefined corn or peanut oil)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, usually about 1/4 teaspoon, plus addition for the sliced tomatoes
  • Salt
  • About 1cup Thinly sliced red onion (preferably the long, skinny
  • About 6ouncestomatillos, (preferably the small purple tomatillos – about 6 of them), cut into eighths (about 1 cup)
  • About 6ounces cherry tomatoes (preferably a mixture of red and yellow – about a dozen), cut in halves or quarters
  • 4 to 6medium-size ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • medium-sized avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • generous tablespoon roughly chopped fresh herb (cilantro is an easy choice, but don’t overlook basil, lemon balm, or anise hyssop – even arugula – or mixture of your favorites)


In a small, ungreased skillet over medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blotchy black in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool until handleable, then peel off the paper skin. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, cilantro, vinegar, oil and pepper. Process until smooth, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, tomatillos and cherry tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of dressing. Let stand while finishing the salad, stirring from time to time.

On a very large platter, lay out the sliced tomatoes in as close to a single layer as possible.

Just before serving, dot the tomatoes with the avocado and sprinkle with the herbs and fresh-ground pepper (I like the pepper pretty coarse for the tomatoes). Drizzle with the dressing, then pile the tomatillo salad in the center, and your impressive tomato salad is ready to serve.

Some pictures:

Roasting the garlic. This is my new go-to way to roast garlic cloves. Turning on the oven to roast garlic seems so wasteful:

140919 roasted garlic

The tomatillo salad, before dressing. We used Sun Gold tomatoes because that’s what we had. (And Apple Cider vinegar as a best substitute for the recommended Rice Wine vinegar.) On the attempt that we served to company we scaled back the quantity of tomatillos a bit. Also, we decided that smaller tomatillos = better:

140919 salad

The “Carpaccio” element. Black Krim, Taxi, and Tigerella:

140919 carpaccio

The finished salad:

140919 combined salad

It’s a really nice recipe. As I mentioned, we scaled back the tomatillos a little bit for company. There’s a nice balance of sweet, fat, acid and salt. Every bite allows the opportunity to mix and match textures and flavors. We especially liked combining Sun Golds with tomatillos. Two thumbs up.

And since we’re overdue for a girl cat pic:

140920 girl cat

WSU couldn’t quite pull it off against Oregon.

3 thoughts on “Rick Bayless’ Tomato “Carpaccio” Salad

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