Recipe Review

I Tried Ina’s Heirloom Tomato Salad and It Was as Effortlessly Chic as She Is

published Aug 4, 2022
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Credit: Grace Elkus

Ina’s Instagram has been a true treasure this summer. She let us in on her favorite Paris eateries, announced her newest cookbook, and gave us a glimpse at her gorgeous summer table setting. But best of all, last week she launched a “Too Hot to Cook” series, which she kicked off with a stunning tomato and blue cheese salad

Ina’s post couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s been 90 degrees in Pittsburgh and my air conditioning is faulty, so I’ve already been avoiding the oven at all costs. A no-cook dinner from Ina was exactly the remedy I didn’t know I needed. Plus, I was eager to get my first taste of this season’s heirloom tomatoes. Here’s what happened when I tried the salad myself. 

How to Make Ina Garten’s Heirloom Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad

Ina’s recipe, which is a sneak-peek from her new cookbook, only requires a handful of ingredients: heirloom tomatoes, heirloom cherry tomatoes, good red wine vinegar, good Roquefort (she suggests Sociéte, I used Paillon), fresh basil leaves, good olive oil, and salt and pepper. Although I’ve gotten used to shopping for groceries online, this is definitely one worth going to the store for (or, if you have one near you, the farmers market). Picking out heirloom tomatoes is half the fun of eating them, and I love any excuse to chat with the cheesemonger. 

You’ll begin by removing the cores from the larger tomatoes, then slicing them and arranging them on a platter. Halve the cherry tomatoes and arrange them with the larger ones. Sprinkle everything with salt and drizzle with the vinegar, then let sit for five minutes. 

Cut the Roquefort into slices, then break into irregular pieces and add to the platter. Top with basil leaves, olive oil, and more salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. 

Credit: Grace Elkus

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Heirloom Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad

Although I love a classic caprese, this salad was a refreshing way to switch things up. Roquefort’s creamy-crumbly texture paired beautifully with the juicy tomatoes, and its rich, salty flavor added just the right amount of intensity to every bite. I also loved how the instructions matched the breezy, no-cook vibe. A drizzle of this, a sprinkle of that — no measuring spoons or mixing bowls needed. After just five minutes (and, as promised, no sweating), I was staring at the most beautiful, party-worthy summer salad.  

I honestly think any interpretation of this salad would be tasty. Next time, I’ll try feta instead of blue cheese, and maybe balsamic or sherry vinegar in place of red wine. I’ll also finish it with flaky salt instead of kosher, because I have a hard time resisting flaky salt when I’m staring at a plate of tomatoes. A sprinkle of pistachios could be fun, too. And while Ina suggests serving the salad with a rotisserie chicken, I’d be happy with just a crusty baguette. Yum!

Credit: Grace Elkus

3 Tips for Making Ina’s Heirloom Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad

  1. Slice the tomatoes with a serrated knife. A serrated knife makes easy work of cutting through a tomato’s thin skin. A chef’s knife, especially if it’s not super sharp, is more likely to squish the tomato. 
  2. Use the best-looking cherry tomatoes you can find. If you can’t find heirloom cherry tomatoes, opt for the best-looking ones at your market or grocery store. They should be plump, smooth, and unwrinkled, with a sweet and earthy smell. 
  3. Opt for Olio Santo olive oil. If you want to be just like Ina, drizzle the tomatoes with Olio Santo California Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which she has been using for at least 20 years