Hot & Spicy Cheez-It Cracker Salad recipe by Frederick, Maryland chef Chris Spear

Last summer I was introduced to Georgia Cracker Salad in Garden & Gun Magazine. At first, it sounded strange. It was chopped tomatoes with mayonnaise and crushed up Saltine crackers. Yuck, right? Well, after trying it, I was making it almost daily until summer tomato season was over. It’s kind of the poor-man’s panzanella.

If I have a snacking weakness, it’s Cheez-Its. I like all the flavors, but the green tabasco Hot & Spicy are my favorite, and I could easily eat a whole box. So, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of using them last summer. By the time I wanted to try it, were were in the middle of winter. Not wanting to use winter tomatoes, but feeling the need to make it immediately, I tried it with tomatillos. Not good. Not good at all. So I’ve waited (not so) patiently. I started with the recipe in Garden & Gun as a base, and made some adjustments. Instead of just using parsley, I raided the herb garden and decided to also use fresh chives and nasturtium leaves. I also scaled it down to use one tomato, the perfect potion for one person.

Hot & Spicy Cheez-It Cracker Salad

1 medium tomato, preferably locally grown and/or heirloom

less than 1/3 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise (I used 3/4 of a 1/3 measuring cup)

1 tablespoon chopped herbs ( I used 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp nasturtium leaves & 1 tsp chives)

pinch of kosher salt

1/8 tsp granulated garlic

3/4 cup lightly crushed Cheez-Its (I used the Hot & Spicy, but try whatever you like)

Cut the tomato into a medium dice. Chop all the herbs. Mix everything in a bowl and let sit for a minute so some of the tomato juices can come out. Stir in the lightly crushed Cheez-Its and eat immediately. A dash of your favorite hot sauce would also be appropriate.

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