For the first recipe in our weekly series, I thought that we would publish something simple. This dish makes a light starter, whose elements can be prepared a couple of hours before your guests arrive.
We first served this refreshing tomato salad in April, as part of our Club Epicure at Home menu. As we near the end of June, the tomato season in the UK is only beginning to gather pace. The fruit on our plants at home are still green, and have a few weeks left before harvest is due. Back in April, we were lucky enough to secure an allocation from Isle of Wight Tomatoes, who consistently supply top quality heritage varieties throughout the year.
You should try to find the best tomatoes and the freshest ricotta, as the quality of these will shine on the plate. If you don’t have your own tomato plants at home, it’s really worth trying to seek out produce from Isle of Wight Tomatoes, either from local retailers such as Open House Deli, or Bellord & Brown.
Heritage tomato salad, with fresh ricotta, chives and a Dijon vinaigrette – serves 4
600g ripe heritage tomatoes
250g fresh ricotta
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
Fresh, young chives
4 heads of chive flowers
Salt and black pepper
Start with your vinaigrette, as you can make this in advance. Stir together the Dijon, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste, and add more vinegar, sugar or salt if needed.
Up to two hours before serving, prepare your tomatoes. Slice them in the same way as the photo above. These can be kept in the fridge, although remove them 30 minutes before serving, so that they can come up to room temperature.
At the same time, you can prepare your ricotta. Remove from the container onto a chopping board and crush with the back of a large spoon. Spoon off chunks and place delicately into a container. Place in the fridge, and remove at the same time as the tomatoes.
To plate up, firstly slice the chives, and pick the flowers from their heads. Assemble the tomatoes onto four plates, and gently place the ricotta chunks on top. Sprinkle over the chives and chive flowers, spoon over the vinaigrette, top with some freshly ground black pepper and large sea salt crystals.
For a cheffy flourish, you could also add your own chive oil, many recipes for which can be found online.
If you are hoping to serve wine with this salad, it would work particularly well with a high acidity white, such as a young Sauvignon Blanc, or Albariño.
Let us know if you have any questions!