Tomato Salad with Dumplings

Let’s face it, there’s no recipe that will be truly delicious with January tomatoes. So as much as it might pain you, sometimes you just sit on a recipe until the season is right. This one from the NYTimes was one I’ve been waiting to make. Serves 4:

Tomato Salad with Dumplings

For the salad: 

  • 2½ pounds ripe tomatoes cut into roughly 1”- 2” pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bag frozen potsticker dumplings (not thawed)
  • Neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons store-bought crispy fried shallots (optional)

For the chili crisp vinaigrette: 

  • 3 tablespoons chili crisp or chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or more to taste

Place the tomatoes on a large serving plate or in a bowl. Add the garlic, half the basil leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt and a big pinch of black pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the chile crisp, rice vinegar and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Taste and if it needs more saltiness, add ½ teaspoon more soy sauce.

Heat a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium high for 1 to 2 minutes until very hot. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and, working in batches, add the dumplings, flat-side down, and cook until the bottoms of the dumplings are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately add about ¼ cup of water to the pan, just enough to cover the base of the dumplings, then cover and cook until the water has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. (If your dumplings contain meat, cook for an extra 1 to 2 minutes, or according to packet instructions). Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate and continue cooking the remaining dumplings.

To serve, place the dumplings over the tomatoes and drizzle with the chili crisp vinaigrette. Toss very gently. Top with the crispy fried shallots (if using) and the remaining basil leaves. Serve while the dumplings are still warm and enjoy!

My verdict:

I waited until the end of June before trying this recipe that piqued my interest way back in the dark days of winter and yes it was worth it! It’s really quick and comes together while the dumplings are cooking.

The dressing alone is wonderful with tomatoes, so if you don’t have any dumplings, give it a try with a bunch of tomatoes and then go buy some dumplings. Any flavor dumplings will work, I used some pork and chive ones, but was thinking this might be a good place for the cumin lamb ones we had tried a while back. Delicate ones like shrimp might get lost with the chili vinaigrette.

You might want to go easy on the chili crisp/oil if you don’t like things spicy, but if you overdo it, an extra splash of rice vinegar helps. I’ve used both Thai basil and regular, I might have like the Thai a bit better, but it’s sometimes hard to come by.

A good Asian grocery will have the dumplings, chili crisp and fried shallots. Fried shallots are a great thing to have—they perk up a lot of things (and are hard to resist just snacking on).

If you have Thai basil, it’s great in this, but regular basil is perfectly fine too.

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