Tomatoes and cucumbers are a classic combination. Here, Eli Sussman of the Sussman Brothers modernizes the summer staple with heirloom varieties of the titular ingredients and brings them together with a caramelized fennel–lemon dressing.
Eli Sussman's Tomato–Cucumber Salad with Fennel Dressing
Heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers marry in this classic combination modernized by a caramelized fennel–lemon dressing.
Yield: serves 4
2 bulbs fennel (about 3/4 lb.), trimmed and sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. fennel pollen
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1⁄2 tbsp. fennel seed
2 lb. heirloom tomatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1⁄2 lb. lemon cucumbers, thinly sliced
1⁄2 lb. watermelon cucumbers, halved lengthwise
Maldon flake salt, to garnish
Heat oven to 375°. In a bowl, toss sliced fennel with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread into an even layer on a baking sheet and bake until slightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then transfer to a blender with the remaining oil, the fennel pollen, lemon juice, fennel seeds, and 1⁄2 cup water. Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes and cucumbers with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and garnish with fennel fronds and flake salt.