Written By: Megan Ashforth | Photography By: Kaity Farrell

My favorite beach hours are from four and six: the beach starts to clear, the sun gets low in the sky, the sand cools beneath your feet, your book suddenly gets really good. It’s time to pull your hat low over your eyes, wrap a sarong around your shoulders, and start the next chapter.

Nantucket is about lingering in the sun a little longer than you should. It’s definitely not about hovering over a hot stove! Nantucket is also about tomatoes. Is there anything better than a golden, local tomato bursting in your mouth?

At the end of a long day at the beach, stop at Moors End Farm for three beautifully misshapen heirlooms, recruit some helpers to empty the cooler, take your time in the outdoor shower, and make this simple, vibrant salad for dinner.

This recipe is all about letting local ingredients shine. I use sherry vinegar in the dressing, as opposed to balsamic, because September tomatoes don’t need the added sweetness. The jalapeno and onion add heat and kick, and peppery basil rounds out the dish and introduces a complementary color.

Have fun picking out your tomatoes! A smattering of brilliant colors and quirky shapes add playfulness and intrigue.

Early September Tomato Salad

Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4 (as a side)

Tomato Salad:

—3-5 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
—1 cup golden cherry tomatoes, halved
—1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
—1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
—1 bunch fresh basil
—flaky sea salt

Sherry Vinaigrette:

—1/3 cup sherry vinegar
—1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
—1/4 cup lemon juice
—1/2 tsp Kosher salt
—1/2 tsp black pepper


First, make the dressing. In a jar with a lid, combine all the ingredients. Shake vigorously.

Slice each heirloom tomato into slabs, about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange them on your favorite platter or serving dish, overlapping edges as necessary. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeno on top of the tomatoes. Season with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Finish with a small handful of fresh basil leaves.

Give the jar of dressing a shake. Lightly drizzle the dressing all over the dish. Serve immediately.

Megan Ashforth is an apartment chef with an interest in food as story. Her recipes reflect her enthusiasm for seasonal ingredients and eclectic flavors, and her desire to make cooking and eating an experience. She is also a full-time 5th grade humanities teacher, certified yoga practitioner, artist, reader, writer, and student of life.
Learn more about her, and her recipes, here.
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