Heirloom Tomato Salad with Cacao and Agave Dressing

The minute we see fresh heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, we’re crafting ideas for our next summer meal. High on our list: This jewel-like heirloom tomato salad with a cacao-agave dressing from Edson Diaz Fuentes’ cookbook, Cuidad de Mexico.

“I originally created this salad dressing for fresh tomatillos,” he writes, “but it is also delicious with tomatoes, especially in the summer when ripe multi-colored heirloom tomatoes appear in the markets. The dressing is a simple mixture of balsamic vinegar, agave syrup and cacao nibs. If you leave it to infuse for a few days, the cacao nibs release their complex flavor, like a vintage liqueur.”

4 servings


Scant ½ cup balsamic vinegar

Scant ½ cup dark agave syrup

6 tablespoons cacao nibs


½ small fennel bulb

1 pound heirloom tomatoes (choose assorted shapes and colors)

1 teaspoon ancho chile flakes

Extra virgin-olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt

Cilantro leaves, to garnish