The Perfect Tomato Salad.

Disclaimer: This first course is very heavily based on Chris Hastings' Hot and Hot Tomato Salad, but is not identical, and is therefore not called the Hot and Hot Tomato Salad. This is a bastardized version.

Now that we're through with the legalities. 

One of the best parts about the weather warming up is that the produce section explodes with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. Summer strawberries and okra are always my two favorite things - they're just so plump and juicy and wonderful. 

I'm not a particularly tomato-y person; I like them occasionally on burgers, but they usually end up being too mealy or bland for my taste. But this salad? This salad I like. 

This is simple and easy recipe will absolutely knock the socks off your dinner guests - you have my guarantee. I've seen it work many times. If you want this to be Whole 30 approved, nix the cheese, and you're there. If you want it to be vegetarian, skip the bacon. 

2-4 heirloom tomatoes (not regular tomatoes)
20-25 pieces fresh okra (and whatever ingredients you like to use to fry it) 
2-3 pieces of thick cut bacon, fried crispy
1 cob of sweet corn
1 package shelled edamame beans
Balsamic vinaigrette
1 package feta cheese
2 T sugar
Sald and pepper to taste

1. Boil your corn with a little sugar in the water, then start on frying your okra however you choose to do it. I use my mom's recipe which can be found here. When you're through frying, it should look like this. 

2. Fry your bacon so that it's very crispy (the crispiness of the okra and the bacon gives this dish a lot of texture). I actually cook bacon in my oven - I put it onto a foil-covered baking sheet, stick it in a cold oven, then pre-heat the oven to 425. Once it's finished pre-heating, I let it cook a couple of minutes longer, then we're done! No muss, no fuss. "Oven bacon" leaves your hands free to cook. 

Once it's cooked, give it a rough chop. 

3. Slice your tomatoes into half inch slices - a little thinner if you want to pile more tomato slices on top of each other. 

4. Begin assembling! Pile your slices on top of each other - toss on your okra, edamame (lightly salted), your freshly cut corn, crumbled bacon, and feta. Then drizzle a light coating of the vinaigrette - or, better yet, leave it off and let your guests add it themselves. 

Best enjoyed with great friends outside with a fabulous bottle of wine.