Pipis Kiosk, bang-on the waterfront in Albert Park in Melbourne, is a cut above your average seaside kiosk. While it does a killer trade in takeaway, the kiosk abuts a spectacular dining room, with windows looking out to sea. Local, seasonal ingredients do much of the heavy lifting here – as they do in this salad, which is perfect for right now, when tomatoes enter their peak tastiness.

“I really love how the richness of the whipped tofu interacts with the acidity of the tomatoes,” executive chef and co-owner Jordan Clay tells Broadsheet. “The fresh aniseed flavours of the tarragon bounce around like an electric guitar solo in a ’90s rock power ballad.

“This recipe is perfect for early-season tomatoes, as the sweetness of the cherry dressing helps to counterbalance the early-season tomatoes, which are less sweet. Don’t be afraid to mix in some underripe green tomatoes into this salad. The more variety, the better.”

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You’ll need multiple tomato varietals for this recipe.

Clay’s tips for a top-tier tomato salad

“Never refrigerate tomatoes. Ever. Once they go into a fridge it can really mess up that ‘fresh tomato’ flavour. Most tomatoes you see these days are picked green and then allowed to ripen over time. Interrupting this process by storing below 13°C results in tomatoes where the sugars stop developing, meaning they taste much more vegetal.

“Try to go to an actual market to buy your tomatoes for a salad. They will have spent less time in transit (and potentially cold storage).

“Season the tomatoes a few minutes beforehand. They will drop out a lot of the excess liquid. This is good flavour that you can then redistribute to the rest of the dish. Mix with some olive oil and then mix it through the rest of the dish, or save for another day.”

Pipis Kiosk’s heirloom tomato salad with whipped silken tofu and cherry dressing

Makes 1 salad to serve about 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes

5 riesentraube tomatoes
1 green zebra tomato
1 black Russian tomato
1 beefsteak tomato
1 yellow cherry tomato
1 jaune flamme tomato
Salt, for seasoning
200g cherries
2 sprigs tarragon
Crispy shallots, to serve

Cherry dressing
100g olive oil
20g balsamic vinegar
5g kirsch
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste

Whipped tofu
250g silken tofu
20g white soy sauce
5g lemon juice
Salt, to taste
50g sesame oil

To make the cherry dressing, mix all ingredients together until combined.

For the whipped tofu, blend tofu, white soy, lemon juice and salt with a hand blender while simultaneously adding sesame oil.

To make the salad, cut the tomatoes into irregular shapes. The less ripe the tomato, the thinner you will want to slice them.

In a bowl, lightly season all the tomatoes with salt and let sit for 1–2 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice the cherries and pick the leaves from the tarragon.

Pipe in a very generous amount of the whipped tofu with a piping bag in the middle of your serving bowl. If you don't have a piping bag, a spoon will work also.

Assemble tomatoes in the bowl around the tofu.

Add your cherry dressing liberally; the sweetness is going to help pump up the natural umami flavours of the tomato and also balance the acidity.

Add a sprinkling of crispy shallots everywhere, except the whipped tofu
Add your tarragon leaves and sliced cherry circles on top of the tomatoes. This is where you can let the true chef in you come to the forefront. Get the tweezers out if you feel so inclined. Imagine that the tarragon, cherries, and tomatoes are patrons in a busy nightclub, all dancing around in a fit of joy. Try to make the tarragon stick up towards the sky, but at differing angles – remember, “height is flavour”.