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Chef John's Tomato and "Dirt" Salad

Rated as 4.5 out of 5 Stars

"This is my version of a salad I had at a restaurant. Tomatoes at the peak of their season work best and the 'dirt' is actually a mixture of mushrooms, rye bread crumbs, and ground almonds."
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20 m servings 439
Original recipe yields 4 servings (4 small portions)


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  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add finely minced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until mushrooms completely dry out and turn golden brown, 7 or 8 minutes, reducing heat slightly toward the end if needed.
  2. Break bread into large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse on and off until processed into fine crumbs. Add crumbs to mushroom mixture. Cook over medium heat until breadcrumbs are completely dried out, dark brown and toasted. Drizzle in more oil if needed. Stir in ground almonds. Continue cooking on medium until pieces of almond turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow "dirt" mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. Scoop spoonfuls of burrata into serving bowls. Arrange tomato slices on top. Drizzle with white wine vinegar and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and basil. Sprinkle with "dirt" mixture.


  • Cook's Note:
  • Depending on the size of your tomatoes, you may need additional or fewer to ensure each salad has enough.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 439 calories; 34.1 17 12.3 40 445 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 4
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Loved this little salad. I made a couple of changes. I used cherry tomatoes cut in half (because I had them) and cubed mozzarella cheese instead of burrata (because I had it). I also added fine...

Fun and delicious! I just used regular fresh mozzarella as that is what I had on hand. So yummy!

I was quite intrigued by this recipe. The cheese isn't something you can get in your local grocery and the crumbs were a little bland for my taste. I added a touch of cayenne to the mushroom-cru...

This was fun to serve. The "dirt" needs a bit more spice; I added minced saluted garlic