I have had the pleasure of reading and cooking from several books recently that have been written by friends. The latest is “I Love California” by California native and celebrity interior designer, Nathan Turner. Nathan is the sweetest guy and uber talented. I met him at Jenni Kayne’s house many years ago for a shoot for Jenni’s blog. I was doing the food and Nathan was doing the decor. His taste in everything design-related is impeccable, but he is also a great cook. Who knew??!!
I love Nathan’s easy, laid-back but chic style which is so California. The state of California has many personalities and stories, though. This book is a journey up and down Highway 1, from the redwoods of northern San Francisco, to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, to the beaches of Southern California. Each area has a thoughtfully curated menu paired with beautiful decor and interiors. The photography is just as beautiful. I, of course, went right for the recipes, which include Nathan’s signature recipes for California comfort food, like his family’s Cioppino, Marinated Tri-tip Steak, Mexican Chocolate Cake, and more.
Nathan’s way with decor and his entertaining tips are so inspiring. Admittedly, this book is not a healthy cookbook. There’s plenty of sugar, white flour, etc., but I found several fantastic recipes that were up my alley, including this salad with roasted cherry tomatoes. So easy, so fresh and tasty, I thought this would be a no-brainer for Memorial Day weekend.
I loved this salad as is, but I made another version vegan for my husband with Kite Hill soft almond milk cheese and that was delicious. I also often substitute avocado for cheese in salads to mimic that same creaminess. Every component of this salad can be prepped in advance from washing and drying the lettuces to toasting the almonds to making the dressing. You can even roast the cherry tomatoes ahead and bring them to room temp (just save all the oil used to roast them because it’s part of the dressing.) It’s a subtle, fresh salad that I know I’ll be making over and over again. I encourage you to preview the book, too. It would make a great hostess gift for summer parties (just around the corner!)
I’m off to Dallas for my daughter’s graduation for the weekend! Do tag me @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman so I can see when you recreate one of my recipes. I love seeing what you cook up!
You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below!
- 2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup unrefined cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (my notes: or to make this vegan, sub dollops of Kite Hill almond milk soft cheese or fresh cubed avocado)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, preferably raw
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, toss the tomatoes with olive oil and salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to pop open. Cool in the pan and lightly smash with the back of a spoon to release more juices.
- In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, almonds, feta, vinegar, lemon juice and pepper. Pour tomatoes and all their juices over the salad and toss to combine.