Feels like summer on your plate! Here we have a simple salad of tomatoes and goat cheese brought to a new level with the sweetness of the strawberries. The tomatoes should be soft but not mushy and be sure to never put these beautiful tomatoes in the refrigerator. For the strawberries try to source seascape strawberries or Harry’s berries. These are truly a cut above. Finally, we take a simple goat cheese and add a pistou (which is blend of basil, garlic, and olive oil) and spread it on a warm grilled crostini. The contrast of temperatures, flavors, and textures make this salad a memorable starter for a summer’s cookout.
Heirloom Tomatoes 2 ea.
Local strawberries 1 pt.
Strawberries 1 pt.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cups
White Balsamic .5 cup
Chai Seeds 1 tbsp.
Basil 1 bu.
Opal Basil 1 bu.
Balsamic Vinegar 2 cups
Black Peppercorn 2 tbsp.
Vanilla Bean (split and scraped) 1 ea.
Garlic 2 cloves
Ciabatta or Baguette (thick slice) 4 ea.
Goat Cheese (8 oz. log) 1 ea.
Maldon Salt as needed
For the Roasted Strawberries: On high heat, roast the strawberries and season with salt. Once a deep color has been achieved add black pepper, vanilla bean, and deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Cook down to a glaze consistency. Chill and reserve. *Note: I prefer to use less expensive strawberries for this preparation, no need to use the local strawberries as we are cooking them and changing the flavor*
For the Goat Cheese: In a blender, puree the garlic, basil (remove stems), and 1 cup of olive oil into a think green paste. Fold the puree into the goat cheese, season, and reserve.
For the Grilled Bread: Generously season the bread with olive oil and salt. Grill the bread on high. Once toasted (slight char marks) rub with one clove of garlic. (Just 2 strokes as raw garlic is very strong. Liberally spread the basil goat cheese on the warm grilled bread.
For the Tomatoes: Mix the chia seeds with white balsamic and remaining olive oil. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks, (should be uneven) and strawberries in half. Reserve.
To Plate: Evenly mix the tomatoes and strawberries and distribute between four plate. Liberally dress the tomatoes with the white balsamic vinaigrette. Add the roasted strawberries to each plate. Tear opal basil and scatter on tomatoes. Season generously with maldon salt. Top with warm goat cheese crostini and serve immediately.