Sweet, juicy and meaty, heirloom tomatoes are a fascinating item at the farmer's market.

Sometimes for their many bright rainbow colors.

Sometimes for their unique funky shapes.

But mostly, because they are delicious.

(serves 2)

A good ripe heirloom tomato can stand on its own, for that reason I like to treat this wonderful fruit minimally. This is a recipe that contrasts the natural sweetness of the heirloom tomato with two strong flavors, basil and wild arugula.

1 large heirloom tomato or roughly 1.5 lbs of smaller heirloom varieties
4 cups fresh wild arugula, loosely packed
5-8 fresh basil leaves
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh mozzarella (optional)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the wild arugula, drizzle in roughly 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. With salad tongs, gently toss to coat the arugula leaves. There should be a light sheen to each of the leaves. Taste a leaf, if you feel that it is too dry add an extra tablespoon of olive oil. If you feel it is too bland add an extra sprinkling of sea salt and/or 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Gently toss again and repeat, if necessary, until you are satisfied with the flavor of the arugula salad. Set aside.
  2. For the heirloom tomatoes, core the stem, and slice off the navel and any rough patches of the tomato. Slice the heirloom tomatoes across into 1/2 inch thick disks, taking care to remove the seeds along the way with the tip of a paring knife. You may consider saving the seeds to grow your own heirlooms next year. Salt and pepper each tomato slice, to taste. Set aside.
  3. For the basil leaf, the number of leaves you use are a measure of your preference. Stack the basil leaves, roll tightly into a bundle, and slice very thinly. Set aside.
  4. To assemble, plate the arugula salad. Add a slice of heirloom tomato on the bed of arugula, a slice of mozzarella (if using), sprinkle a few slices of basil, and repeat twice more. Lightly drizzle with olive oil to finish the salad.