Neo Cantina

A tomato in the hand: Neo Burrito chef John Redden favors heirloom tomatoes in his recipes. Photo by Ryan Bumgarner

Neo Cantina in the Biltmore Village features Southwestern flavors made with a green sensibility. The restaurant uses local foods, just like its sister restaurant, Neo Burrito. Chef John Redden favors heirloom tomatoes in his recipes, one of which he shares below. For more information, visit

Xpress: What’s your favorite tomato variety?
Redden: Definitely the Cherokee Purple, an heirloom variety.

Where are your local tomatoes from?
We source our tomatoes from the Chefs Garden, located in Hendersonville.

Willing to share your favorite tomato recipe?
How about a fresh heirloom salad?

Fresh heirloom tomatoes with queso fresco and cilantro-lime vinaigrette

6-8 oz heirloom tomatoes
4 oz queso fresco
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Slice queso fresco into 1/4-inch rounds and fry the queso in a non-stick skillet approximately 1 minute on each side. On a serving platter, alternate fresh tomato slices with fried queso and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Mix in the fresh cilantro, drizzle vinaigrette on top of tomatoes and cheese and serve immediately.

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