Bon appetit States “Here’s the first thing you should make when you want to show off the peak-season tomatoes you’ve been waiting all year for. A colorful gang of cherry tomatoes and dramatic heirlooms are mixed with zhuzhed-up pita chips, salty feta, and lots of herbs. So elegant! So fancy! And, shh, don’t tell the tomatoes, but the real star is the za’atar dressing: Toasty, earthy, and tangy, it’d be welcome on seared zucchini, slow-roasted fish, or corn on the cob.
Remember that just because it’s an heirloom doesn’t mean it’ll taste great—your picks should smell incredibly tomato-y and feel heavy for their size—that means they're juicy.” Serves 6
1 1/2 lb. heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium)
1 2 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided plus more
1/2 garlic clove
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons za’atar
2 cups pita chips
1 1/2 teaspoon (or more) honey
3 1/2 oz. Greek feta
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
Using a paring knife, core 11⁄2 lb. heirloom tomatoes, then cut each into 8–12 wedges, depending on their size, using a very sharp chef knife or serrated knife (if your chef knife is dull, it's going to squish your precious tomatoes). Halve or quarter 12 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes (cutting them through their equators will reveal more seeds and make them even prettier).
Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl; season with 11⁄4 tsp. salt. That salt is going to draw out moisture from the tomatoes, which will intensify their flavor. Stir to gently combine (be careful with those delicate tomatoes!); set aside.
Zest 1⁄4 lemon—you want about 1⁄2 tsp. zest (it’s easiest to measure if you hold the Microplane upside down so that the zest collects on top and you can scoop it into the measuring spoon). Grate 1⁄2 garlic clove. Set aside. Heat 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium until just starting to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon zest and garlic. Wait 10 seconds, then remove from heat. (You're looking to cook off the raw flavor of the garlic without losing the brightness of the lemon.) Transfer za’atar oil to a heatproof measuring cup.
Place 2 cups pita chips in a medium bowl. (Yes, you could make pita chips yourself—but why turn on the oven in July? We're opting to spiff up store-bought chips instead.) Pour 2 Tbsp. za’atar oil over; season with salt. Mix well with a rubber spatula, aiming to coat chips without breaking them into too many pieces. You should have about 1⁄4 cup za’atar oil remaining. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) into a small bowl. Add 11⁄2 tsp. honey and 1⁄2 tsp. salt. Add za'atar oil, stirring constantly, until emulsified (meaning that you don’t see any beads of separated oil). Taste dressing and add more lemon, honey, or salt if needed.
Slice 31⁄2 oz. feta into thin planks (we like Greek feta because it's easy to crumble, with a pleasant tang), then add to bowl with reserved tomatoes. Tear any large 1⁄2 cup basil leaves and 1⁄2 cup mint leaves (if you have shears, you can cut them to avoid bruising and browning!) and add to bowl. Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. dressing over and toss to gently combine (your tomatoes are precious, delicate gems). Add pita chips to bowl (don’t leave leftover oil behind—scrape that in too) and fold gently to combine. Spoon salad onto platter, making sure to leave no juices behind. Drizzle with remaining za’atar oil. Serve with chips. Yum Yum!
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