When Fanny Singer makes this salad, she remembers her mom, Alice Waters, taking her to spend the Japanese New Year with the Chinos, a San Diego farm family that has been growing heirloom tomatoes for Berkeley's Chez Panisse forever. Fanny's twist on the restaurant recipe is to add shallots treated two ways: marinated in vinegar and fried to make a rich, salty garnish.
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3 large shallots (1/2 pound), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings, plus 1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup canola oil
3 1/2 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes, sliced, or halved if cherry
Small basil leaves, for garnishing
How to Make It
In a small bowl, combine the minced shallot with the vinegar and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add half of the sliced shallots and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining sliced shallots.
Spread the tomatoes on a large platter, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Scatter the fried shallots and basil leaves over the tomatoes and serve.
The fried shallots can be kept at room temperature for 2 hours. Salt them just before using.
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