A Tomato and “Dirt” Salad You’ll Really Dig

It’s not unusual for me to steal a recipe idea from a local restaurant, but it’s not everyday that I’m inspired by something I eat at a bowling alley. This happened recently at the Mission Bowling Club, a fun and funky, six-lane bowling alley located just a few blocks from our home, which despite the cacophony, features some of the City’s best bites.

In addition to an otherworldly fried chicken appetizer, and a “granulated,” aged beef burger some (including my wife Michele) consider the best in the City, the MBC also features daily specials, and one such offering was described as an “heirloom tomato salad topped with a crispy rye crumble.”

That sounded great to us, and our server vouched for its excellence, so we happily included it among our starters. What we didn’t know at the time, was that our server had defied the kitchen and refused to use the dish’s official name, “tomatoes and dirt.”

She made this stunning admission as we raved about its deliciousness, and admitted to going rogue and changing the name because she just didn’t think that “dirt” sounded appetizing. What?! I thought this plate of tomatoes and “dirt” was just about the most creative thing I’d heard/seen/tasted in a while.

I was this close to going into that kitchen, ratting her out, and maybe getting a free dessert for my trouble, but thought better of it, and decided to quietly finish the salad, knowing that I would share it here, dirty name and all.  Anyway, this is my version, and I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Small Portions:
8 oz burrata cheese, or fresh ricotta
Enough freshly sliced tomatoes for 4 portions
Wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Fresh sliced basil leaves
For the crumbs:
2 tbsp olive oil, more if needed
3 large brown mushrooms, minced fine
big pinch of salt
3 slices of dark rye, made into crumbs
1 rounded tablespoon ground almonds (aka almond meal, almond flour, or just crush your own)