I am certain that my taste buds will never forget those tomatoes, leaving such a favorable impression in my mind. My favorite fruit as a child (or what I stubbornly like to call a vegetable), perfectly indulged straight from the garden, sliced into four, and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Though, If I had of been born into an avocado era, it probably would have been the later. Fresh from the tree, sliced into halves, with a little salt and pepper, possibly mashed on a slice of fresh baguette. As I sit here, my mouth begins salivating to the idea. I am as giddy as a school child right now, fresh local tomatoes in abundance. I wish it were this season all year round, tomatoes tasting as they should. During the summer months I don't have to think about where my tomatoes come from, because I buy them straight from the man at the farmers market who planted them himself. I walk into my local grocery store, and the well identifiable sign says Washington State, and I sigh with relief. There is something charming about buying produce from the hands that planted and nurtured the seed to your table.
With all these tomatoes taking up valuable counter space, I thought it wise to turn them into something special. A fresh summer salad, paired with my other favorite - the avocado. If you've been around for a while, you'll know that I love to pair avocados and tomatoes. I added a few white beans for some hardiness and protein. A shallot or two, sliced every so finely, always bringing out some extraordinary flavors from the tomatoes. I made certain to buy the avocado a little ripe, not too hard though. I wanted it to retain its shape when sliced, and not become soggy when moistened with dressing. The dressing is a hodge-podge of my favorite ingredients. My standard go-tos' when making a dressing. A gorgeous olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, dijon, honey, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to shake my dressing in a mason jar, versus whizzing it in the food processor. I feel as though the later method emulsifies the dressing way past my desire, resulting in a creamier thick version which has its own place. A few days back, I came across some pea shoots at the market. Tempted by their rarity and cute nature, I decided to incorporate them into this salad. Although, I do realize that they may not be readily available in other parts of the world, a simple substitution for arugula or fresh basil will work just fine.