TOMATO AND PEACH SALAD

Serves 8 people

4 large heirloom tomatoes of different varieties

4 large yellow peaches

3 sprigs basil – leaves thinly sliced

4 oz goat cheese

Freshly-ground black pepper

Coarse sea salt

Fig puree – found in specialty food stores – if you cannot find it, a good fig balsamic vinegar works well too

  1. Using a very sharp or serrated knife, thinly slice the peaches and the tomatoes. Place all the slices on a large serving dish alternating between the tomatoes and the peaches and creating a circular pattern.
  2. Crumble the goat cheese all over the top of the tomatoes and peaches and add the thinly sliced basil leaves. Add freshly ground pepper and a good pinch of the sea salt.
  3. Just before serving drizzle the fig puree over the salad.

Food trends come and go with certain ‘hot’ dishes being the in thing. Remember when Fondue was all the rage and when balsamic vinegar was served on and with everything? Over the last few years France has discovered ‘crumbles’. Be they sweet or savory, interpretations of this British stalwart have flourished on the French side of the English Channel.

Crumbles have their humble origins in the kitchens of WW11, when rationing – often a trigger for culinary inventiveness- led to the creation of a ‘pie’ without a bottom. Quick and economical to make it has enjoyed a loyal following ever since.

The savory kinds that are now found in many French restaurants may at first seem a little quirky for those used to the traditional sweet versions. They are however delicious and can be made in myriad ways. I recently found a cook book in France entitled simply ‘crumbles’ with recipes for everything from the basic apple variety to an exotic Foie Gras Crumble. My appetite was stimulated and my curiosity with the savory dishes led to various versions of my own. The tomato one included here is one of my favorites.

Serve them with grilled or roasted chicken or grilled fish and a fresh, herb filled green salad. The perfect meal for a summer’s eve.

“CRUMBLE DE TOMATES”

Serves 8 people

16 medium sized tomatoes – cut in half cross-wise –

olive oil

fresh thyme and rosemary – a few sprigs of each, stems removed and coarsely chopped

salt and pepper

4 oz flour

3 oz bread crumbs

3 oz grated parmesan

4 oz butter – cut into small pieces

2 oz pine nuts

6 oz soft goat cheese

2 tablespoons yogurt

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place the tomatoes cut side up in an oven proof dish that is large enough to hold all the tomatoes in one layer. Drizzle some olive oil all over the tomatoes and then add the chopped thyme and rosemary over the top of them. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
  3. To prepare the crumble, place the flour, bread crumbs and half the parmesan in a medium sized bowl, mixing them together. Add the butter and using the tips of your fingers slowly incorporate it into the flour mixture. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil as necessary and continue to mix the flour mixture. The flour mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
  4. Remove the tomatoes from the oven (there should be little or no liquid around the bottom of the tomatoes) and then turn the oven up to 425 degrees. Spread the crumble mixture all over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the pine nuts and the remaining parmesan over the crumble and drizzle a little olive oil over the whole dish.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown.
  5. Whilst the crumble is in the oven whisk together the crème fraiche, yogurt and goat cheese in a small bowl. Serve with the hot tomato crumble.

ROASTED TOMATO AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH A MINT-BASIL VINAIGRETTE

Serves 8 people

1 lb small to medium heirloom tomatoes – use different varieties – if they are larger then plum sized, then cut them in half

1 teaspoon vegetable herb mix or Herbes de Provence

1 goat cheese log – 6 oz – sliced into thin rounds

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ bunch mint

½ bunch basil

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon chives – finely chopped

½ lb baby arugula

Olive bread – thinly sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a small baking dish. Pour a little olive oil over the tomatoes, and then sprinkle the herbs over the top. Shake the pan to coat well. Roast the tomatoes for 2 hours.
  3. Place the olive oil, vinegar, mint, basil and lemon zest in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a puree/vinaigrette. It should have consistency that is lighter than a pesto.
  4. Place the arugula in a medium sized salad bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and toss so that the leaves are just coated. Divide the arugula evenly between eight salad plates.
  5. Spoon some of the roasted tomatoes into the center of each plate and then insert 2-3 goat cheese rounds into the roasted tomatoes. Drizzle the mint-basil vinaigrette over the top of the tomatoes and goat cheese. Sprinkle some of the chives over the top of the salad. Serve with toasted olive bread.

FIELD GREENS WITH WARM BUFFALO MOZZARELLA WITH A HERB CREAM AND SAVORY TOMATOES

Serves 8 people

Olive oil

4 whole buffalo mozzarella – halved

Coarse sea salt

Black pepper

4 oz field greens

1 bunch purple basil – leaves removed

½ bunch green basil – leaves removed

½ bunch chives

¼ bunch parsley – leaves removed

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 shallots – finely sliced

1 teaspoon Ras al Hanout

1 lbs little multi-colored heirloom tomatoes – roughly chopped

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour a little olive into a small oven-proof dish large enough to hold the 8 mozzarella halves. Place the mozzarella cut side down into the dish, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the purple basil, green basil, chives, parsley, lemon juice and zest and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a blender and blend until you have a smooth creamy puree. You may need to add a little water if it is too thick. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.
  4. Pour a little olive oil into a medium sized pan, placed over medium heat. Add in the sliced shallots and the Ras al Hanout and cook for 5 minutes so that the shallots are soft. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Pour this tomato mixture into the bottom of a salad bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Place serving utensils over the tomatoes and add the salad greens.
  5. When you are ready to plate the dish, toss the salad so that all the ingredients are well combined. Divide the salad evenly amongst eight plates. Place a mozzarella half in the center of each plate on top of the greens and then pour the herb ‘cream’ over the mozzarella. Sprinkle a little finishing salt on top of the herb sauce.
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