Saturday, August 23, 2014

Warm Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese

I really enjoy the beautiful fresh tomatoes we can pick out at the farmer's markets over the last few weeks. This time of year, our meals almost always contain them. Cool gazpachos, caprese salads, tomato tarts, or simply raw with good olive oil, salt, and pepper. I could eat tomatoes all day, everyday!

At some point, though, the ideas begin to lag, and I look around for new inspiration. Or in this case, "old" inspiration. Back in our dating days, my husband was the cook, and I was the eater! We had opposite work schedules, and it made more sense for him to prepare dinners. One of his most loved dishes was a take off of a local restaurant's salad - this Warm Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese.
Fresh tomatoes are cut & warmed quickly, then tossed with greens and creamy goat cheese. The addition of crispy, bruschetta-like, toast and aged balsamic vinegar takes an already yummy dish up a peg. This is a quick, easy, and savory take on the delicious tomato!

Warm Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese
serves 4-6

3 large red tomatoes
4 cups mixed greens, packed
6 ounces fresh goat cheese (not feta, but soft goat cheese)
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
1 crusty baguette

Cut the baguette on a bias into thin slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place into the oven and broil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Then flip and broil for 2 minutes. Take out of the oven and reserve.

Cut the tomatoes in half and slice into wedges. Place into a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Heat the tomatoes in the microwave, on high, for 1 minute. Carefully remove and place the warmed tomatoes into a fine sieve. Gently press on the tomatoes to remove some of the tomato water.

After squeezing, place into a large serving bowl.

Add the mixed greens and 4 ounces of the goat cheese (crumbled/broken) to the bowl.

In a separate small mixing bowl, add the oil, balsamic, pinch of salt, and 2 ounces of goat cheese. Quickly whisk until blended.

Add the dressing to the serving bowl and toss to coat. Arrange the toasts around the bowl, or plate individually.

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