Tomato salad with guacamole, black garlic and essence vinaigrette

This dainty tomato salad recipe combines a variety of different elements to create a celebration of bright, fresh and umami-rich flavours. Tomatoes, avocados, olives, black garlic and sheep's cheese come together to create a seriously impressive starter that's bound to impress your guests.

First published in 2019




Tomato essence



Tomato essence gel

  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch of xanthan gum
  • 1 pinch of ultratex

Black garlic and olive tapenade

To garnish


  • Dehydrator
  • Blender
  • Food processor
  • Piping bag and nozzle
  • Vacuum bag and machine
  • Squeezy bottle


Place the 5 black olives in a dehydrator and leave until completely dry and crisp. Finely chop into a crumb, then set aside in an airtight container until ready to serve
To make the tomato essence, place all the ingredients (apart from the Tabasco) in a blender and blitz until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth set over a bowl in the fridge while you get on with the rest of the dish
To make the guacamole, place all the ingredients apart from the coriander, parsley and oregano into a blender and blitz until smooth. Fold in the herbs and transfer to a piping bag
Make the tapenade by blending all the ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste forms. Transfer to a piping bag and store in the fridge until ready to serve
Prepare the tomatoes. Cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes and blanch for 3 seconds in boiling salted water. Immediately refresh in iced water, then remove the skins and seeds. Pipe guacamole into each tomato and set aside
Quarter and deseed the heritage tomatoes, then cut into tear or petal shapes. Add to a vacuum bag with a little of the strained tomato essence, compress and seal and set aside
Take the beef tomato and cut it into a square. Slice into 1cm strips, then portion into cubes. Set aside
Once the tomato essence has strained through the muslin, take 100g of the liquid and mix with the sherry vinegar. Add the ultratex and xanthum to thicken it (you may need a little more or little less ultratex to achieve the desired consistency). Whisk in the olive oil, add a few drops of Tabasco to taste and transfer to a squeezy bottle for serving
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 pinch of ultratex
  • 1 pinch of xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Tabasco, to taste
You now have all the elements ready to assemble the dish. Roll the guacamole-stuffed tomatoes in the dehydrated olive and place in the middle of each bowl. Arrange the cubes of beef tomato and compressed tomato petals around it (seasoning with salt as you go), then pipe dots of tapenade, tomato gel and any remaining guacamole in between. Dice the avocado and add cubes to each bowl, then finish with the nasturtium leaves, fennel fronds and coriander flowers. Finally, finely grate the frozen cheese over the top and pour a little leftover tomato essence into the base of each bowl. Serve immediately
First published in 2019

Phil Fanning remains one of the brightest, most interesting chefs of the British food scene, creating beautiful, intricate plates of food at the magnificent Paris House in Woburn Abbey.

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