In the South, scoring fresh-picked okra at the farmers' market is as exciting as discovering the ripest heirloom tomato. In this healthy tomato salad recipe, addictive roasted okra fries add crunch to balance the creamy dressing and soft tomatoes.
To prepare dressing: Whisk cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, buttermilk, tarragon, scallion, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Add more buttermilk, if necessary, so it's thick but pourable.
To prepare okra & tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss okra with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet with a little space between pieces. Roast okra for 8 minutes. Gently toss and continue roasting until browned in spots, with crispy edges, 8 to 12 minutes more. Let cool.
Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle onion rounds with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread the onion rings out in the pan and cook until dark chestnut-colored in multiple spots, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Arrange on a serving platter or divide among 6 salad plates. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and crushed red pepper and top with the onions and the okra fries. Drizzle with the dressing or pass it separately.
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate dressing (Step 1) for up to 1 day.
1 vegetable, 3 fat