Edible Bozeman

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lowcountry Pickled Alliums

Fresh heirloom tomatoes, with their irregular shapes and deep coloration, are rich in antioxidants and bursting with flavor, making them perfect for summer. Tray Mathis, executive chef at Gallatin Gateway’s Gallatin River Lodge, transforms this garden bounty into elegant dinner-party fare.

A Lowcountry quick-pickle of ramps, sweet onion, and fennel, with black garlic vinaigrette and a dash of aromatic fennel pollen, elevates this heirloom tomato and goat-feta cheese salad beyond its humble origins. The techniques are simple, but the result is sublime.


Pickled Alliums

8 ounces fresh ramps, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
2 medium sweet onions, julienned
1 medium fennel bulb, chiffonade
4 whole bay leaves
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (preferably with 5% acidity)
9 tablespoons tap water

Fill a mason jar (or other container with airtight lid) with ramps, sweet onions, fennel, and bay leaves. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, vinegar, and water until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the alliums in the jar. Gently rock back and forth to allow any trapped air bubbles to escape. Allow to sit, lid on, at room temperature for a minimum of 1 hour or as long as overnight. Longer pickling will develop better flavor. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Black Garlic Vinaigrette

1 whole bulb black garlic, peeled and rough chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, rough chopped
1 clove shallot, medium chopped
½ tablespoon agave nectar or honey
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar plus more to taste
2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil plus more as needed
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor combine black garlic, fresh garlic, shallot, agave nectar or honey, red wine vinegar, and mustard; blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream. If 6 tablespoons is not enough, add additional oil until desired texture is reached. The vinaigrette should be silky-smooth and pourable. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Vinaigrette stores in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


1 pound washed and sliced heirloom tomatoes
Pickled Alliums (recipe at left)
Black Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe at left)
4 ounces crumbled goat-feta cheese
1 teaspoon fennel pollen*
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

Toss tomatoes and pickled alliums with the vinaigrette. Add the goat-feta cheese and fennel pollen, then finish with Celtic sea salt on top. Enjoy!

*Fennel pollen is available online at foodsinseason.com.

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