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Top down view of a serving platter with fresh heirloom tomato salad.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese and Fried Shallots

  • Author: Nicole Gaffney (
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american


Ripe heirloom tomatoes, creamy blue cheese, sweet + tangy sherry vinaigrette, and crispy fried shallots. This is the best heirloom tomato salad ever!



For the Fried Shallots

  • 3 medium shallots, peeled, halved, and sliced lengthwise (not too thin)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • grapeseed or vegetable oil for frying

For the Salad

  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • flaky sea salt (such as Maldon or sell gris)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 very large or 4 smaller heirloom tomatoes, cut into thick slices or wedges
  • 4 ounces creamy blue cheese (recommended: Maytag)
  • fresh basil, torn
  • fried shallots


  1. Combine the shallots with buttermilk, salt, and pepper, then set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, salt, and pepper. Fill a medium pot with oil about 1 inch up the sides, then place over medium-high heat.
  2. Test the oil by sprinkling a little bit of flour in it. The flour should immediately sizzle and start to brown, but not burn. If using a thermometer, it should read between 350-375 degrees.
  3. Drain the shallots, then working in batches, coat them in the flour mixture, then drop them into the hot oil. Move them around for a few minutes, flipping if necessary, until golden brown. Remove fried shallots with a spider or slotted spoon, then place on paper towels to drain.
  4. Whisk together minced shallots, honey, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
  5. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, then pour dressing over. Crumble blue cheese on top and sprinkle with basil. Shower with a mound of fried shallots and serve immediately.


  • I recommend doubling or tripling fried shallots to use at a later time. You will not need to double the flour/corn starch mixture or buttermilk, only the actual shallots. Keep fried shallots in an airtight container with a paper towel to absorb moisture, at room temperature, for up to 5 days. Recrisp in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Keywords: tomato salad, fried shallots, crispy shallots, blue cheese