Steve Smith's vibrant salad recipe celebrates a variety of tomatoes, pairing their natural acidity with sweet strawberries, raspberries and watermelon for a riot of red in this refreshing starter. Combined with a decadent shot of Champagne, tomato water and a little creamy mozzarella, this salad recipe makes a perfect dinner party starter.
The folder name
Please choose a different name.
Please enter a name for the new folder.
For the tomato water, place the plum tomatoes and basil leaves in a blender and blitz to form a rough purée
250g of plum tomatoes
4 basil leaves
Line a colander or strainer with a muslin cloth and place over a bowl. Pour the purée into the cloth and place in the fridge to strain for 24 hours – this should result in a clear, golden liquid in the bowl
For the compressed watermelon, deseed the melon slices as much as possible and place in a vacuum bag. Seal with a chamber sealer to compress and reserve until ready to serve
1/2 watermelon, peeled and cut into thick slices
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
To make the croutons, place the ciabatta slices on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then bake for 5 minutes until crisp and lightly toasted. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to serve
1 ciabatta, cut into very thin slices
freshly ground black pepper
Just before serving, discard the tomato purée from the sieve and add a little sugar to the strained tomato water to take the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes. Mix in the Champagne and set aside
sugar to taste
100ml of champagne
Remove the watermelon from the vacuum bag and dice all except one of the slices into 1cm cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl and add the tomatoes, 12 of the strawberry halves and 12 of the raspberries
6 tomatoes, a mixture of local varieties, halved or quartered (depending on size)
6 strawberries, hulled and halved
Gently toss the fruits together and divide between serving plates. Tear the mozzarella over the salads and scatter over pieces of the toasted croutons, the dried olives, cress and herbs to garnish. Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar for the dressing in a small bowl and drizzle over the salads
1 mozzarella cheese
50g of dried olives, preferably Kalamata, finely chopped
10g of chives, finely chopped
5g of fennel cress
micro herbs, to garnish
25ml of malt vinegar, or beer vinegar if available
50ml of extra virgin olive oil
To finish, finely dice the remaining slice of compressed watermelon, the remaining 8 strawberry halves and 8 raspberries and divide between 6 shot glasses. Pour over the chilled tomato water and serve on the side of the salads
4 strawberries, hulled and halved
Want more recipes like this delivered to your inbox?
Sign up to our newsletter now and we'll send you a hand-picked round-up of the best seasonal recipes and features from the best chefs each week.
Invalid email address
Thanks for subscribing
We'll only contact you around once per week with the best recipes and features. You can unsubscribe at any time.