When using raw onion in a salad, I like to slice it and crisp it up by soaking it in ice water with some vinegar (this also removes some of that assertive raw onion flavor). It’s a simple step that makes a big difference. While many American steakhouses leave their tomatoes out and serve them at room temperature for optimal flavor, I like this refreshing tomato salad to be very cold, topped at the last minute with the warm bacon.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces sliced bacon, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips and then sliced crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh tarragon
- Quickly pickle the red onion: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup water with a few ice cubes, and stir in the red wine vinegar and the onion slices. Set aside.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses, and olive oil. Taste for seasoning, and set aside.
- Cook the bacon: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and add the bacon pieces and 1⁄2 cup water. (The water will “blanch” the bacon as it cooks and you will end up with crispier, less greasy bacon.) Simmer until the water evaporates and the bacon is crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon pieces to a kitchen towel to drain.
- Assemble the salad: Arrange the beefsteak tomato slices, flesh side up, in a single layer on a platter or on individual plates. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over them. Season them evenly with the sugar, Maldon salt, and black pepper. Drain the onions, pat them dry with a kitchen towel, and sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the tarragon. Finish with the warm bacon. Serve immediately.