Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Tomato and “Dirt” Salad You’ll Really Dig

It’s not unusual for me to steal a recipe idea from a local restaurant, but it’s not everyday that I’m inspired by something I eat at a bowling alley. This happened recently at the Mission Bowling Club, a fun and funky, six-lane bowling alley located just a few blocks from our home, which despite the cacophony, features some of the City’s best bites.

In addition to an otherworldly fried chicken appetizer, and a “granulated,” aged beef burger some (including my wife Michele) consider the best in the City, the MBC also features daily specials, and one such offering was described as an “heirloom tomato salad topped with a crispy rye crumble.”

That sounded great to us, and our server vouched for its excellence, so we happily included it among our starters. What we didn’t know at the time, was that our server had defied the kitchen and refused to use the dish’s official name, “tomatoes and dirt.”

She made this stunning admission as we raved about its deliciousness, and admitted to going rogue and changing the name because she just didn’t think that “dirt” sounded appetizing. What?! I thought this plate of tomatoes and “dirt” was just about the most creative thing I’d heard/seen/tasted in a while.

I was this close to going into that kitchen, ratting her out, and maybe getting a free dessert for my trouble, but thought better of it, and decided to quietly finish the salad, knowing that I would share it here, dirty name and all.  Anyway, this is my version, and I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Small Portions:
8 oz burrata cheese, or fresh ricotta
Enough freshly sliced tomatoes for 4 portions
Wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Fresh sliced basil leaves
For the crumbs:
2 tbsp olive oil, more if needed
3 large brown mushrooms, minced fine
big pinch of salt
3 slices of dark rye, made into crumbs
1 rounded tablespoon ground almonds (aka almond meal, almond flour, or just crush your own)


The Underground Restaurant Chef said...

First great recipe! I have made "rye dirt" before just with crumbs as a "bed" for a cutsie potted crudite display but never thought of adding mushrooms etc. And adding them to tomato salad sounds delish. And I love the Miley aside, Awesome!!

Anonymous said...

haha I like the Miley shoutout. It needed to be said. Great recipe! Bowling alleys always have the best food anyways, probably to make up for the bore that is bowling.


Thank you for making cooking such an adventure for me..My husband LOVED some wings i made inspired by your recipes...YOU ARE AWESOME CHEF JOHN...

Brian said...

Hey Chef John!

Been following blog for a few months now. In need of a good food Thermometer. Which one do you recommend?

I have had some bad luck. Saw one in your Chick Parm blog. Is that a Taylor?

Thanks so much!

Chef John said...

I've used Polder and Taylor, and never had a problem!

Brian said...

Thank you!

Michele Cryan said...

Chef John.....you so funny.

I'm going to try this but with boring old store bought bread crumbs and no cheese. Should be ...not as good.

Thanks for helping me create yet another dinner out of what I've got in the fridge!


withextraonions said...

A stunning video. No, not because of the nifty culinary trick, but because you said "round the outside" only once. The failure to include a subtle pop culture reference and shirk tradition makes me think we're dealing with a Chef John imposter.