This simple recipe for a rustic tomato goat cheese salad uses sweet heirloom tomatoes, creamy goat cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a scattering of fresh basil for the perfect summer side dish.
It’s not only fresh local tomato season, it’s also the time of year when you can get the most amazing tomato of all, and that is an heirloom tomato. And if there is one local fruit or veggie that I adore above all others, it’s an heirloom tomato.
What are heirloom tomatoes anyhow?
Heirloom tomatoes are varieties of tomato that have been consistently passed down through generations of tomato plants just the way they are, as opposed to regular tomatoes which are hybrids of various different strands. Hybrid tomatoes are perfectly fine, and they tend to look prettier and last longer than their heirloom cousins.
Heirloom tomatoes are frequently weird shapes, and they are more expensive, but they taste AMAZING. They have a rich, juicy flavor that is hard to describe until you have taken your first bite of an heirloom tomato, and while you can find them here and there in supermarkets, your best bet is to look for them at your local farmer’s market in the midst of local tomato season.
And since we are smack in the midst of local tomato season, I have been buying up all the heirloom tomatoes in sight. Among other things, I am working on a recipe for a crustless tomato ricotta tart, and here’s a window into the life of my sweet Southern husband.
Sometimes I write a recipe and I get it right on the first go-round. But other times I have to make it again and again and AGAIN until it is (as we like to call it in our house), “bloggable.” Such has been the case with that tomato tart recipe.
If at first you don’t succeed…etc. A lot of heirloom tomatoes have given their all for that recipe, and the Southern husband has patiently eaten serving after serving of tomato tart.
As opposed to THIS recipe for a rustic tomato and goat cheese salad. This recipe worked from the very first try.
I mean, it’s hard to mess up sweet sliced tomatoes that are dolloped with creamy, dreamy goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and scatter with fresh basil, right? I served this up alongside some steak that we made with our perfect grilled steak method, but honestly?
I could live happily ever after with just this salad alone. If you can’t find heirlooms, try it with whatever local tomatoes you can rustle up. It really is like summer on a plate. Happy tomato season!