This should be called the End of Summer Salad since that’s when tomatoes–particularly heirloom varieties, are at their best. It’s really just a twist on the caprese salad, but I find goat cheese imparts a more sophisticated flavor, and keeps the focus on the tomatoes bursting with flavor at the end of the summer.
I used my favorite salad green here, which I confess, I don’t know the name of. I pick them every year from our favorite local organic U-pick farm, and even the people that run the U-pick aren’t sure of the name. I think they’re either Breen mini-romaine, Cherokee or Rouge d’Hiver–some sort of Little Gem lettuce, with dark red leaves and exceptional crunch. Maybe someone reading this post will be a lettuce expert and will solve the mystery for me once and for all.
I love that this salad takes just 5 minutes to prepare and looks fresh and festive. It’s a great addition to any meal, and looks especially good served al fresco.
1 bunch Little Gem lettuce, trimmed and washed
2 heirloom tomatoes (try mixing different varieties), sliced crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices
1 handful mixed variety cherry tomatoes, washed and halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Quality balsamic vinegar
Coarse-ground sea salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 cup soft goat cheese (aka chevre)
1-2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
So simple! Find a nice platter. Arrange the lettuce leaves evenly. Top with the heirloom tomato slices followed by the cherry tomato halves. Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of the olive oil over the salad, followed by 1 tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the basil leaves and crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.