Have you ever had one of those restaurant experiences where you ate the most amazing dish and keep thinking about it? That happened to me while I was visiting New Orleans for a conference in May. I traveled with my friend, Amari, and we skipped the conference food to explore and experience the local food scene. After a few days of rich NOLA meals we were both craving veggies and headed to Willa Jean for lunch one day.
The restaurant itself is bright and charming inside. After quickly scanning the menu the “Heirloom Tomato Salad" caught my eye. When it came to the table I knew it was just what I was craving. The salad was layers of juicy, ripe tomatoes, topped with grilled shrimp, fresh herbs, delicate edible flowers, creamy avocado and slices of radish. Isn't this salad a beauty?
What are heirloom tomatoes?
Tomatoes are heirloom if the plants are open-pollinated or are varieties more than 50 years in circulation. Tomatoes from seed passed down for several generations through a family are also considered heirloom.
Heirloom tomatoes come in a stunning variety of colors, shapes and flavors. They have creative names like "Green Zebra" and "Indian Moon." I chose red and yellow-orange heirlooms, but the names weren't listed.
They are becoming more readily available at supermarkets and farmer’s markets.
Now that summer is in full swing and tomatoes are in season locally I thought it was time to take a stab at this incredible salad from Willa Jean. Since it’s all about the tomatoes you want to use the freshest tomatoes possible. If you can get them from a farmer’s market or have a garden those will be the most delicious and flavorful.
This salad is...
great for a light summer meal
comes together in 15 minutes
full of fiber, healthy fats and protein
packed with beneficial phytochemicals (plant chemicals)
Gorgeous Heirloom Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp & Fresh Herbs
Active Time:10 minutes
Total Time:15 minutes
12 medium raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Spice mix ( 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp dried oregano)
3 heirloom tomatoes (about medium sized)
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
a few leaves of fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Season the shrimp with the spice mix, salt and pepper. Cook on a grill over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
Slice the tomatoes, thinly slice the radishes into rounds, and tear up the fresh herbs.
Arrange the tomato slices on two plates. Top with diced avocado, sliced radishes, herbs and grilled shrimp.
Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Do you have a favorite restaurant dish? Comment below and tell me all about it! You can also tag your creations on Instagram @wellfednutrition.