Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Mediterranean-style

Heirloom tomato salad may be a standard on every restaurant's summer menu, but there's no one standard way to prepare it. Those big, beautifully juicy tomatoes have so much flavor, it's hard not to think of other equally delish flavors to pair them with! Heirloom isn't just an excuse to charge more for a tomato- varieties of heirloom seeds are generally passed down for generations. When you taste the difference between a regular tomato and an heirloom, heirlooms will have you saying "they don't grow 'em like they used to"... in a good way!

I took a bit of Mediterranean inspiration and added cucumbers and red onions, similar to a classic Greek salad, and topped it with a honey balsamic reduction- you can use any variety of balsamic you like, and I bet fig balsamic or lemon balsamic would be great substitutes for honey balsamic.

The Whats:

* 10 heirloom tomato slices (from one large heirloom tomato, or two small ones)
* 8 cucumber slices
* handful of mesclun greens
* 1 small onion, sliced thinly
* a handful of basil leaves, cut into slivers
* 4 oz. or half a stick fresh goat cheese, crumbled
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup honey balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic vinegar

The Hows:

1) Plate the handful of mesclun greens on a large plate. Layer the tomato slices, cucumber slices, and crumbled goat cheese, consecutively, over one another; surround with red onion slices. Crumble remaining goat cheese over the vegetables, and top with the slivers of basil.

2) In a small skillet, heat the honey balsamic over medium-high heat; simmer until balsamic has reduced to about 1/4 cup and thickened. Remove from heat, and drizzle over the tomato salad. Sprinkle with salt & pepper if desired, and serve.

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