Heirloom Tomato + Japanese Shiso Salad Recipe


“When the gardeners are away, the possums will play”…and eat our tomatoes! We just returned a few hours ago from a much needed and last minute road trip. Details on our adventures and food finds over the past few days will be revealed in a video and post next week! Unfortunately during our short, but sweet departure, the darn possums went to town in our garden while we were out of town. Literally, this is so true. When we left a few days ago, our brandywine tomato plant had a beautiful, huge and plump tomato, almost ready to be picked. Upon return from our mini road trip, we were anticipating and already tasting, our very first brandywine tomato of the year. When we arrived back home, we went straight to the garden, expecting to fine the picture perfect and huge “tomato for two” brandywine waiting for us to snap it off the vine. Instead, we did find the tomato, but it was half eaten!! Those darn possums helped themselves our our precious brandywine tomatoes as well as our sungold tomatoes!

Possum thieves!! Luckily, there’s still one Brandywine left.


The Sun Gold tomatoes should look like this…


Not like this…tomato-less! UGH!


Normally, Sierra, the “White Jaws” of the garden and our possum chaser was with us on our trip, so there was no “White Jaws” to protect the garden from the vicious teeth and ravenous appetites of the possums! Damn the possums! She’s always camped out in the garden late into the night, getting very little sleep, to chase all the pests from the garden( possums, squirrels, rats, cats, nosy neighbors) from the yard and protecting all the valuable vegetables that would have otherwise become victims to the night theivery . This is the first time they’ve actually attacked our tomatoes and literally eaten all the tomatoes on the vines, leaving only a snipped off stem with out a tomato to be found. Looking at the tomato-less stems is enough to drive any gardener crazy with envy and jealousy! Let’s just hope the possums enjoyed the appreciated the amazing vine-ripened tomatoes that they stole from us. Do you think they even knew the quality of tomatoes they ate?

Grrr!! Next time, the orange tiger toy will be a possum!

Lucky she was on vacation with us or else…

heirloom tomato salad

Go ahead and try to take the last tomato , make Sierra’s Day!


Even the wise one couldn’t save the tomatoes!


Such a good guard puppy and tomato protector


Apparently possums don’t like Shiso, theres plenty left in the herb garden!


The recipe is from this wonderfully simple and fresh recipe from Diary of A Foodie on Gourmet.com. This perfect recipe is perfectly light and complimenting to the fresh garden heirlooms tomatoes. A touch of sweetness of the shallot dressing is a fine compliment to the already sweet, summery bliss of the heirloom tomatoes.  The only change we made to the recipe was replacing grape-seed oil with the corn oil. We prefer using grape-seed oil for the shallot dressing because this oil is much lighter and cleaner tasting. It’s the perfect compliment to the sweet vine ripened tomatoes. Just a light kiss of the grape-seed oil is all you need to keep this summer-y salad bursting with tomato and shiso flavor.



{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Coco

    I love shiso, but have only had it w sashimi. I just bought a bunch today and this salad looks like the best way to enjoy it at home. Thanks!

  2. CharlieSommers

    We are lucky enough to live in Tennessee, one of the states where two varieties of shiso, green and purple, grow wild, much to the delight of my Japanese wife.

  3. Jen Yu

    Oh, I hate those giant tomato eaters (the worms, not the pup). Sierra is soooo adorable. I can’t believe you guys grow your own shiso! It’s wonderful stuff. I quite love the refreshing taste of it. Your salad is beyootiful. And hey, Chuck Lai won the jackfruit!! 🙂

  4. swirlingnotions

    Love the photo of Sierra by the doomed tomato . . . she looks so sad :-(. Great looking salad too . . . I need to tuck some shiso among my herbs.

  5. Christine

    What a lovely combination this is. Heirloom tomatoes are a gift from above, no?

    I’m no gardener, but my old housemates were and they used to sprinkle a whole bunch of red pepper flakes (they’d buy a big bottle from the dollar store) around the tomatoes and veggies and the rabbits and possums stayed away.

  6. Precious Pea

    So sorry to hear about your tomatoes. I know how you felt…cos I used to have a lemon tree that doesn’t bear any fruit until one day, a lemon appeared and i visited it daily to make sure it’s growing well. Went a while few days and came back, the lemon was GONE! My brother in law plucked it off cos he needs lemon juice for his grilled fish! UGGHH!!

    p/s: Sierra is so adorable.

  7. Sandie

    Darn those opossums anyway! Nothing like a few varmints ruining a perfectly wonderful garden. Yummy salad though, and your dog children just keep getting cuter and cuter every time I see them!

  8. Jude

    I’m always on the lookout for shiso but could never find.. Just stumbled upon your blog and it’s really nice.

  9. Tiina

    That is perfect summer food! And I have said this before, but will say it again, Sierra really is the cutest dog on earth! Those pictures of her brought a big smile on my face!:)


  10. Maryann

    Love that puppy face 🙂

  11. grace

    heirloom tomatoes are as beautiful as possums are hideous. i love animals, but i’ll be darned if they aren’t the ugliest critters i’ve ever seen. do they have any redeeming qualities? what is their purpose? baffling. 🙂

  12. Big Boys Oven

    Wow you had a great time on production shooting, well done! we too have been busy with ordered bakings and classes, it;s getting so exciting! so cool!

  13. Lori

    I’m so jealous of your shiso plant! It looks so big and healthy and I absolutely love shiso! 🙂

  14. Kevin

    That salad looks good! I have been wanting to try shiso for a while now.

  15. lifeinrecipes

    I feel your pain. At my old house I had a spectacular garden. One summer I left for a short trip when everything was just about perfectly ripe. I returned to a backyard apocalypse. The deer had ripped down the fencing and decimated absolutely everything down to nubs.

  16. matt wright

    Last year we went away just when our heirlooms were ready – the bloody neighbors of ours got the lot! By the time we were back, their season was over.

    This looks great guys – I have never had shiso with tomato before, sounds good to me!

  17. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I’ve given up growing any veggies, especially tomatoes, because both the deer and the bunnies seem to get them before I ever get one! Now I grow herbs, and trade for veggies with friends who have fences around their gardens.

  18. Ivy

    Sorry to hear about your brandywine tomatoes. Do you get to see the possums? I would be scared to have them around.

  19. Mike

    So sorry to hear about the tomatoes. I’ve posted before about my dismal garden, so when I have something actually growing that looks good, its a special occasion. Blueberries were such an item recently–they looked better than those at my grocery store. Oh was I ever excited. And when the day came to pick each little blue jewel, I bent over and couldn’t find a single one. The day before, they were all there, and now, 100% gone. Every berry, flower, or bud. It was a short season. :-/

    Good thing you’ve got the guard dog, lol. Not sure how mine would react…they’re too busy being jumpy about imagined intruders in the backyard, let alone real ones.

  20. Andrea

    And if it’s not possums, it’s rabbits! We have some rabbits in our yard but no cats or dogs to keep them away at night. We need to get pretty creative to keep them away! It’s great that you could salvage one brandywine for your beautiful salad. Thanks as always for supporting Grow Your Own!

  21. Lisa (Show Me Vegan)

    I’m sure Sierra would have had your back if she were not vacationing! She looks like she’s back on the job now.

  22. aforkfulofspaghetti

    Heh heh. You know, I really thought you guys had everything, particularly after watching your video tour of your garden. I was ready to ship out of the UK, and come over and join you. But now I know differently – you have possums! All is not absolutely perfect after all…

    A shame, because those tomatoes looked gorgeous (we call them heritage tomatoes, BTW). But good to know you still managed to salvage just enough to make another fabulous salad!

  23. A scientist in the kitchen

    Will you ship the jackfruit to the Philippines? Just kidding! We just harvested jackfruits from home and we’ve been indulging too much of it! All I could smell is the scent of jackfruit in the air!

  24. Manggy

    Eek! That possum has excellent taste, though, can’t argue with that! At least you were able to salvage a few tomatoes and make such a refreshing salad! 🙂

  25. evil chef mom

    and what’s shiso? I’ve never heard of it. ( look at me, I’m a bad food blogger)

  26. evil chef mom

    See, this is why you have house sitters! I would have gladly drove down and watched your plants for you, though I might be as bad as the possum and ate all your veggies!

  27. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    I’m so sorry about your tomatoes! That really sucks! The ones you saved are beautiful, though. I have to tell you that I was so inspired by your Garden Tour and your magnificent garden, that I planted my own little garden. I have 6 different kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, green beans and lots of herbs. So far, I’ve reaped a few cherry tomatoes and lots of little zucchini flowers. It’s pretty hot here, but I’m hoping things will still grow. If it doesn’t flop, I may post about it.

    I’m so jealous of your shiso! It’s gorgeous! I tasted some when I took a cooking class with Jaden last summer and loved it. Sadly, it is rarely ever available around here.

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