Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

October 7, 2016


Tomato Stack Salad


The calendar might say October, but here in sunny San Diego we recently had the warmest week of the year (104 last Sunday-ugh). At the farmers market today I noticed that in addition to the usual assortment of vine ripened tomatoes there were a few vendors selling butternut and kabocha squash. How exciting I thought, yet it’s still too warm for me to cross over to start preparing my fall favorites. While there are gorgeous tomatoes available I’m a slave to using them.

I’ve had this recipe tucked away in a file for some time and decided it was finally time to put it to good use. I found some very hefty (almost a pound a piece) heirloom tomatoes and knew they would be perfect for this recipe. Take care when making the Parmesan Crisps.  Mine stuck to the parchment and I ended up with Parmesan crumbs-not very pretty, but tasty nonetheless.

On a side note-as I walked into Costco this morning the first display that I saw was piled high with containers of pre-made Parmesan crisps! They actually looked pretty good.


Tomato Stack Salad

Parmesan crisps

2-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1 small shallot, minced (about 1-1/2 Tbs.)
4 tsp. Champagne vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. grapeseed oil or canola oil

1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces if large
1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup 1-inch-long fresh chive pieces
20 small nasturtium leaves (optional)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sixteen 1/3-inch-thick heirloom tomato slices, preferably of different colors, sizes, and shapes (2 to 3 lb.)
About 20 various heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
Make the parmesan crisps:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick baking liner or parchment. Spread the grated cheese over the entire surface of the liner. Bake until the cheese is amber brown, about 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Break into irregular pieces (each about 3 inches across). You’ll need 12 pieces for the Napoleons, but this batch makes extra to cover the inevitable breaking (and snacking). ***Definitely use a Silpat  (non-stick baking liner) to make the crisps. Not having one, I used parchment paper and although the cheese crisped up nicely there was no way to get it off the paper! I ended up scraping it up into crumbs and sprinkled the crumbs over the tomato slices. Time to invest in Silat.

Make the vinaigrette:
Put the shallot, vinegar, mustard, and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl or dressing cruet. Allow the shallots to sit in the vinegar for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. Whisk or shake in both oils. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

To serve:
In a large bowl, mix the arugula, parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, and nasturtium leaves (if using). Lightly dress with some of the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad evenly among 4 salad plates. Arrange a large tomato slice on each salad, sprinkle lightly with salt, and top with a piece of parmesan crisp. Continue to alternate the lightly salted tomatoes and cheese pieces until you have used 3 pieces of the parmesan crisp in each Napoleon. Finish off the top of each Napoleon with an unsalted tomato slice. Arrange the cherry tomatoes around the Napoleons and drizzle any remaining vinaigrette around the plates. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4


4 thoughts on “Tomato Stack Salad

  1. j,,,,i find the best way to make the ‘crisps’ is in a skillet on the stove and better yet you can drain off some of the oil w/o losing flavor and they stay crispier longer…I love to make these and never use the oven! xx00

  2. A gardiner friend still has a bounty of ripe, luscious heirloom tomatoes which are calling me to this recipe. A wonderful salad to bridge the end of summer and start of fall,

  3. Looks just delicious! and yes, take advantage of the tomatoes while they are here..I am down to our last few in the garden.

  4. Try using a silpat mat to make the crisps. They don’t stick at all.

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