Tuesday, July 21, 2009

tomato salad recipe

Tis the season! The one we wait all year long for....

Tomatoes are just coming into season and it makes me truly grateful that there are seasons, mothers and fabulous chefs.

When I was really little, about 5 or 6, I remember my mother saying she was going to make me a tomato sandwich. I rolled my eyes thinking why couldn't my mother be like all the other mothers? What's wrong with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a tuna sandwich? No, she wanted to make me a tomato sandwich. (You'll love the dedication in my tomato cookbook, "You Say Tomato")

She went to the garden and picked a tomato and brought it inside still warm from the sun. She sliced some homemade bread, toasted it, spread it with mayonnaise (no doubt homemade) and sliced the tomato. I can still remember the smell of that fresh tomato! She carefully put a few slices of juicy tomato on the sandwich, sprinkled the tomatoes with salt and put the top on. I took the first bite and thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

I had that same sensation the other night when I ate the most incredible tomato salad at the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore. The tomatoes reminded me of the delicious summer tomatoes my mother picked from her garden many years ago with just the right balance of acid and sweetness. Arthur Wall, the fabulous chef at Wente, crumbled a little of the creamiest Laura Chenel goat cheese over the tomatoes. He drizzled Arbequina virgin olive oil onto the top. I loved the sweetness and simplicity of torn basil leaves and the light dusting of sea salt and cracked black pepper that left their taste in my mouth long after I'd finished my salad.


Heirloom tomatoes of different varieties and colors, cut into different shapes and sizes
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh goat cheese
Whole basil leaves, torn into pieces
Extra virgin olive oil

Arrange the tomatoes on a platter and season with salt and pepper. Crumble the goat cheese onto the tomatoes. Tear the basil leaves and sprinkle onto the top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Serves one happy tomato-loving Joanne Weir


Steve said...

Joanne - This tomato salad looks fabulous. So simple, but with the freshest ingredients, absolutely perfect. Still a little early on the East coast for the best tomatoes, but I'll surely be making this salad soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

Waterski 49 said...

What a great simple salad in Texas we are right in the middle of tomato season. Yes they are the best when you bring them in wash with a little cool water and slice them up. We all start to get a little sad when the middle of August rolls around the plants start to turn a little Yellow which tells you they have done their best for the season. Thanks Joann for another winner. Waterski49