Heritage Tomato Salad with Goats Cheese and Balsamic

Lovely tomatoes that taste of the sun, fragrant basil, cool goats cheese and spiky balsamic – a simple but really good salad for a hot summer’s day.

Heirloom Tomatoes

You can get tomatoes all year round in the supermarket, but most of them have been grown in a poly tunnel and travelled half way around the world and taste of nothing. A tomato that has been grown in sunshine is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated.

These big, juicy, seasonal tomatoes don’t have a long shelf life, so if you are lucky enough to get hold of them, make sure you enjoy them while they are at their best.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

One of the best ways to enjoy them is a simple salad. This one uses very few ingredients as the tomatoes are the star of the show.

You could dress the tomatoes with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, but simple balsamic vinegar, reduced until thickened, is really good here. Reducing the vinegar, really insensifies the depth and flavour. You could of course, just buy a bottle of ready made balsamic glaze which is the speediest option, but it’s really worth making your own for the best flavour.

Tomatoes and basil

I’ve made a large platter here, which is nice for people to help themselves, but this could easily be scaled down for two people to enjoy.

Ingredients:
Assorted heritage tomatoes – as many as you like, I’ve added a few cherry tomatoes too
Goats cheese – around 100g per person
Fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar – around 3/4 of a cup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
To reduce the balsamic vinegar, place in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low and leave for around 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and then refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Tomato Salad

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on your serving plate, sprinkling a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the slices.

Tear some of the basil leaves and make sure some of the leaves are between the layers, leave some of them whole too.

Heritage Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad

Break up the goats cheese and scatter over the tomatoes, you can remove the rind, or leave on.  I’ve tucked a few crumbles of cheese in between the tomatoes too.

Drizzle over the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

Tomato Goat Cheese Salad Balsamic

This is one of the nicest salads to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.  You can scale up or down, add pita chips if you would like some crunch, or slices of toasted baguette make a nice addition too.

Tomato Goat Cheese Salad

Some very cold white wine would be another nice addition to this salad!

Harvest Salad Bowls

I picked up some great seasonal produce this weekend, including some seriously delicious, fresh corn. Rather than simply boil and serve on the cob, I decided to grill it and make a summer salad. The slight charring you get, makes for a really nice, slightly smoky flavour.

Harvest Salad

This salad also has my favourite Cavolo Nero kale, crisp red apples, roasted sweet potato, beets and goats cheese with a balsamic dressing. This makes enough for two large salads with leftovers for a lunchbox the next day.

Harvest salad bowl

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato
2 small beetroots
2 corn on the cobs, husks and silk removed
A small bunch of kale, ribs removed and torn intp pieces – I used Kavolo Nero
Small bunch of mixed salad greens
Goats cheese – I used two small individual cheeses broken into large pieces
1-2 crisp apples
1 lemon, halved

Harvest salad bowl2

Dressing:
3tbs olive oil
2tbs balsamic vinegar
1tsp maple syrup
1tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper

Method:
Start by peeling the sweet potato and chopping into bite sized chunks. Rub with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast at 220°C/425°F for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and the edges are just starting to catch.

Sweet potato

Do the same with the beets, but I like to roast them separately to keep the colours separate. Beets do like to turn everything red!

To grill the corn, heat a griddle pan and rub each cob with a tiny amount of oil and place onto the hot griddle, tuning until cooked all the way around. You can also do this on a barbecue. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off and set aside.

Grilled corn

While the vegetables are roasting and the corn grilling, massage the kale in one half of the lemon juice. This tenderises it a little and helps to bring out the vibrant colour too.

Harvest salad bowl3

Chop the apple into bite sized pieces, leave the skin on, and toss in the rest of the lemon juice to avoid it discolouring.

When the vegetables are cool, assemble the salad by adding the massaged kale to the other salad greens, roasted sweet potato and beets, apples, crumbled goats cheese and the grilled corn. Gently turn the salad to combine everything together.

Harvest salad bowl1

Whisk or shake the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over the top.

Harvest salad bowl4

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds or pecans if you like a bit of crunch. This late summer salad is full of flavour and perfect to enjoy on a warm afternoon in the garden.

Minty Cucumber and Tomato Salad

It’s SO hot! I have loads of baking recipes I want to try out, but I think putting on the oven today might actually kill us.

We’ve been having lots of salads in this hot weather and this one is cool cucumber with sweet cherry tomatoes, peppers and cooling mint. I really like to make my chilli and cucumber salad too, but this with the mint is super cooling on yet another hot day.

Minty tomato salad1

When I add cucumber to a salad, I always scoop out the wet seeds. I never peel them either; I think the nice green skin is the best bit.

This is a very colourful salad with red and yellow peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be nice and sweet all year round, so this is a good recipe for anytime. Feel free to add in some thinly sliced red onion too, that would work well here – IF you like eating raw onion that is!

This super simple recipe can be made more substantial by adding cubes of cheese, such as feta, or served as a side salad, alongside some grilled fish or chicken. It’s quite portable too, so a very good salad to take on a picnic.

I don’t like to add too much dressing to this, but extra can be served on the side.

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 pack of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper

Dressing:
2tbs olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
Tiny pinch of salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
Extra mint
Cubes of eta cheese (optional)

Method:
Halve the cucumber lengthways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then slice and add to a large bowl.

Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves, or quarters and add them to the cucumber slices.

Cut the ‘cheeks’ off the peppers, leaving the core and seeds behind and slice and dice, before adding to the bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Minty tomato salad

Pour over enough dressing to moisten the vegetables and scatter over a little more mint if desired. This is really good with the addition of feta cheese to make a really colourful and cooling summer salad.