If you want an elegant little salad to enhance a special dinner or party, this is it. Picture a flower-arrangement of salad ingredients sitting in a tomato "bowl!"
I saw this, many years ago, on some cooking show on TV. I have made it a few times, but I don't remember if I ever had a written recipe (I just keep things filed in my head).
It looks fantastic at a fancy dinner party and it is really pretty easy to do. I know this recipe really needs a picture, I promise to do one real soon. In the mean-time I have included a photo of enoki mushrooms, available in most produce aisles.
**Note: Do the scallions and radishes hours earlier, or even the night before,to let them blossom. You can skip the radish if it is too much trouble. Remember to warn your guests about the toothpicks.
***NOTE: To eat this salad, just pierce tomato securely and deeply with a fork and slice with knife into bite-sized pieces. Do it first so your guests with see what to do.
Rinse and dry scallions and radishes. Trim roots off scallions. Using a thin, sharp, pointed paring knife, slice 1 inch long cuts (length-wise) through middle of white end. Do this 2 or 3 times to make a fringe on the root end. Trim off other end at around 6 inches. Place these trimmed scallions in a deep bowl of ice water. Trim root point and leaves off radish, leaving it in a round shape. Holding with point side up, make 4 small slices around base. You are making rose "petals" with each slice. Moving up a level, stagger 4 more slices. Make sure they are deep enough, but don't cut the leaf away from the base. Continue around maybe one more time. Pare away center of radish so toothpick will show. Add to bowl with scallions. Set in refrigerator to let them "blossom" at least 2 hours. This can be done ahead or even the night before, just keep icy cold.
When ready to make salad, rinse and dry remaining ingredients. Carefully cut around the stem top of the tomato, making a deep hole, but do NOT pierce the bottom of the tomato. Scoop out loose insides and seeds (but leave the tomato skin and flesh intact to make a tomato bowl to hold your salad). Turn upside down to drain for a bit.
Select 8 pretty leaves from the middle of a head of Romaine lettuce. Leaves should be about 6 inches tall, not too broad at base. Insert 2 into each tomato, in a fan shape. Push gently down on tomatoes to flatten the bottoms and keep from rolling over. If leaves are too long, tomato will keep toppling over. Trim more off lettuce base if necessary.
Choose 3 or 4 long Enoki mushrooms for each tomato. Trim bottom if necessary. Insert into tomatoes in front of lettuce leaves.
Insert 3 to 5 nice long chives behind mushrooms. Should be like a floral arrangement, with the chives gracefully sticking out above everything else.
Insert a colorful, wooden toothpick into bottom base of radish rose. Push up so that it can be seen in center of rose. Insert the other end of toothpick into the center of the scallion "blossom." Put one assembled "rose" into each tomato, right in the center front. Surround and fill in with watercress.
Put on a pretty salad plate, maybe with some shredded lettuce around it. Or you could put in a shallow, stemmed pudding dish/bowl or even a wide champagne, long-stemmed glass would look elegant. Just be careful they won't tip over. Sit the glass on top of salad plate (for eating). Drizzle with salad dressing and set out on dining table. Serves 4