Recipe Box, Ryan’s Hot and Hot Summer Tomato Salad Stack

Hot & Hot Fish Club is an upscale restaurant

in Birmingham AL

Chef owner Chris Hastings is well reknown in the foodie circles

The restaurant remained open during part of the Covid lock down,

with one dish only available for take-out~

The hands down most popular restaurant offering,

Tomato Salad

Thick slices of juicy heirloom tomatoes

with corn and peas in a chive dressing,

fried okra and cherry tomatoes,

all stacked and topped with crispy bacon,

balsamic vinaigrette, and basil chiffonade

It’s definitely a show stopper!

We went to DD’s Saturday night

and HHjr told her he’d grill BBQ Chicken Thighs

and bring an appetizer if she’d handle the sides

“What kind of appetizer are you making?” I asked him

“You’ll have to wait and see” he said

Sometimes he is very secretive…

so while he was busy in the kitchen

I chatted with DD

instead of following him around with my camera

“Where do you keep your salad plates?” he asked her,

“I’m making a plated first course”

Talk about a WOW factor!

HHjr changed a few things in the restaurant’s recipe

He used bacon instead of a ham hock to flavor the peas

He roasted the corn on the grill

He substituted our favorite homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing

instead of making the Chive Dressing they use,

and instead of fried okra he roasted okra

I’m not a big fan of okra because it can be gummy

but when it’s roasted it looses all the stickiness

and is really delicious!

These salads were big,

they are really a meal in themselves

and at Hot and Hot you can get them topped with grilled shrimp

for a main course

This recipe is adapted from Hot and Hot Fish Club Tomato Salad

Ryan’s Hot and Hot Summer Tomato Stack Salad

Summer heirloom tomatoes stacked with layers of corn and peas with bleu cheese dressing, garnished with roasted okra and grape tomatoes and garnished with bacon, basil and balsamic vinaigrette
Prep Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 6


  • salad plates



  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • 2 large golden delight tomatoes
  • 2 big rainbow tomatoes
  • 1/2 pint sweet grape tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 12-18 small whole okra
  • 1 cup fresh lady peas
  • 1 cup Pink eyed peas
  • 1/2 small onion chopped into large pieces
  • 1 slice raw bacon chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 6 ears corn
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • 6 slices applewood smoked bacon thinly sliced and cooked until crisp
  • chiffonade of fresh basil
  • balsamic vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bleu Cheese Dressing

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • S&P


  • Wash tomatoes and pat dry
  • Slice off the tops and bottoms the large beefsteak, golden delight, and rainbow tomatoes and cut each into 3 thick slices. Toss the tomatoes with 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Season the tomatoes with the salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature to marinate until ready to serve.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes. Toss in balsamic vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Okra and Corn*

  • Roast corn in husk in oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove husk and strings. Cut kernels from cob and set aside.
  • Remove stem ends from okra and toss okra pods with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, checking often near the end of cooking time to make sure it doesn’t start to burn.


  • Put chopped bacon and onion in a deep skillet and saute until soft. Add peas and then add water to cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until peas are cooked. Drain peas, remove onion and bacon {it is just used to flavor peas while they’re cooking} , and set peas aside.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

  • Combine all ingredients in a large jar. Stir to combine and shake well, Refrigerate for several hours before serving to allow flavors to blend

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Whisk together the vinegar, chives, and green onions in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk the oils into the vinegar mixture until well blended and slightly emulsified. Season the vinegar mixture with salt and pepper. The vinaigrette can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Be sure to bring the chilled vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk well before serving. Makes 2 cups


  • Place 1 slice beefsteak tomato on each plate
  • Combine peas and corn in a bowl. Toss with Bleu Cheese Dressing and put 1-2 Tablespoons of the pea mixture on each tomato slice
  • Repeat layering with the rest of tomatoes and peas, using 1 slice of each of the 3 tomatoes for the stack on each plate
  • Place the halved grape tomatoes and 2 or 3 roasted okra on each plate.
  • Drizzle the tomato stacks with Balsamic Vinaigrette and top with a slice of bacon and basil chiffonade


Top with cooked shrimp for a main dish meal if desired
*You can roast the corn and okra at the same time, adding okra to the oven after the corn has cooked for 30 minutes, then they will both be done at the same time
Keyword corn bean and tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, Hot and Hot Salad, stacked tomato salad, summer salad, Tomato Salad

Yes, this salad is a little labor intensive, but oh so worth it!

The steps are not hard and if you make the dressings ahead of time

it will come together pretty quickly


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25 Responses to “Recipe Box, Ryan’s Hot and Hot Summer Tomato Salad Stack”
  1. BERNADETTE says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks better than better. It would make a lovely meal on a hot summer day.

  2. It looks amazingly delicious, esp. when you use heirloom tomatoes and top with crisp bacon :-))

  3. thefrenchhutch says:

    This is one of my favorites and it is the perfect wow factor to impress guests! Simply delicious and easy to put together. I’m sure this was a delicious treat for your family night. I think I need to make this soon!!!

  4. Martha says:

    Wow, that’s so impressive! I think I need HHjr to come to my house. He did a fantastic job on these and I can only imagine how delicious they were. I agree with you, they do look like a meal all by themselves!

  5. Jenna, the tomato salad at Hot & Hot is one of the best I have ever eaten. I went to a cooking class several years ago at Petals From the Past and Chef Hastings prepared the tomato salad along with two other dishes. It was the first time I had eaten it. Hubby and I went several times that summer to Hot & Hot just so I could eat the tomato salad!

    HHjr’s looks equally delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • I thought of you right away when he told me about the recipe, knowing that you love to come to Bham for the upscale restaurants. It really is quite a salad, we all were in awe and lapped it up! I especially loved the roasted okra, we’re having that again tonight!

  6. Nancy says:

    What a presentation! Thank you for the recipe! This looks sooooo delicious!

  7. This is really creative and such fun presentation! I think anyone would like this!

  8. Fairy Queen says:

    Wow this is very delicious 😋😋😋

  9. lulu says:

    Wow! I’m loving this and you can be sure I am going to make it when corn and tomatoes come in. My lips are already smacking!

  10. Rita C. says:

    Wow! Has HHJr ever considered becoming a chef? He could!

  11. Debra CANTALES says:

    Wow, HHJr sure went all out and my dinner group would enjoy this!!

Check out what others are saying...
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