in season

In Season: Elise Kornack’s Tomato-and-Sandita Salad

In Season: Elise Kornack’s Tomato-and-Sandita Salad

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

This half-inch fruit is a member of the cucumber family and variously known as a Mexican sour gherkin, a cucamelon, and a sandía de ratón (mouse melon). And it’s true: A reasonably athletic mouse could push a miniature wheelbarrow of sanditas back to the mouse nest without breaking a sweat. Aside from looking adorable, they taste great—tart and citrusy with a not off-putting note of watermelon rind and a super-crunchy texture. Take Root’s Elise Kornack has discovered the perfect foils for the plant’s bright acidity: sweet Sungold tomatoes and Himrod grapes.

Elise Kornack’s Tomato-and-Sandita Salad

1/4 cup sanditas (at Greenmarket’s Bodhitree Farm and Windfall Farms stands)
1/4 tsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp. olive oil
Pinch of Maldon sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup Sungold tomatoes, halved vertically
4 opal basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup Himrod grapes, halved horizontally (at Greenmarket’s Buzzard Crest Vineyards stand)
Small handful of pea shoots

Chill a stainless-steel mixing bowl in the refrigerator. (1) Cut the sanditas vertically, and set aside. Add the sherry vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the chilled bowl. (2) Using your hands, rub the ingredients against the side of the bowl, creating a slightly emulsified vinaigrette. (It’s important to have the bowl well chilled so the vinaigrette clings to the side as opposed to pooling at the bottom.) Add the tomatoes and the basil, and gently toss, using only the movement of the bowl, to avoid bruising the fruit. (3) Add the grapes and sanditas to the bowl, and toss. To serve, slide the salad from the bowl to a plate in a single swift motion. Add the pea shoots to the bowl, toss with the residual dressing, and arrange the shoots sparingly over the top of the salad. Serves 1 to 2.

*This article originally appeared in the September 30, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.

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