Tomato salad gremolata is a refreshing summer dish. (Micah Siva)
Tomato salad gremolata is a refreshing summer dish. (Micah Siva)

This herbaceous gremolata elevates summer tomatoes with lemon, seeds and dates

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With a short-lived growing season, fresh tomatoes feel like a delicacy when summer rolls in.

When tomatoes aren’t in season, I rely on slow-cooking tomatoes to bring out and concentrate their natural sweetness. When ripe, there’s nothing I love more than thinly sliced tomatoes with salt, herbs and spicy olive oil. If tomatoes are on the menu, I love to serve them with a flavorful, herbaceous gremolata that highlights their natural sweetness. 

Gremolata is an Italian condiment, a green sauce made of parsley, lemon, garlic and olive oil. Typically made using citrus zest, it can be made with a variety of herbs, from cilantro to mint. I dollop it on top of roasted sweet potatoes or grilled fish, and use it as a base for a flavorful salad dressing.

Gremolata is an easy recipe to have fun with — use up whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. It is one of my favorite ways to elevate and celebrate a simple dish. I often play around with different versions.

In my current rendition of gremolata, I look to infuse a little bit of Jew-ish flavor with briny preserved lemons, crunchy sesame seeds and caramel-like dates. The preserved lemons offer a salty component, while the dates temper the sharpness of the raw garlic. This salad gets better as time goes on, so dress it in advance for stress-free, delicious summer entertaining.

Tomato Salad with Date Gremolata

Serves 4

  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped preserved lemon, or ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 pitted dates, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 3  Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste

Arrange the tomato slices on a large plate or platter.

Finely chop the parsley, and add to a medium bowl. Add the garlic, preserved lemon, chopped dates, sesame seeds, lemon juice and 2 Tbs. olive oil. Season liberally with salt.

Dot the gremolata on top of the arranged tomato slices. Drizzle with remaining oil. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Micah Siva
Micah Siva

Micah Siva is a registered dietitian and trained chef in San Francisco. She develops modern Jewish recipes inspired by her grandmother, with a plant-forward twist. See her recipes and photography at Nosh with Micah.