Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

The Circle B Kitchen has been ever so busy this week with Cousin Katie and her son, Eric, here to entertain us.  We’ve been cooking and eating nonstop.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  We do have breaks between the eating and cooking when we take a little time to talk about food and plan what we will cook and eat next.  Like I said, it’s been busy and at times even hectic fitting it all in.  

But I wanted to take a few minutes here before everyone wakes up and we start in on our breakfast plans to tell you about this tomato salad I made last week.  But before I even get to that I have to mention how absolutely lovely and awesome it is to at long last have the garden offering up some serious bounty.  I really thought we were going to lose all of our tomatoes (and everything else for that matter) a month ago after being pummeled with hail, freakish winds and over 4 inches of rain in the space of just a few hours, which totally flooded the garden.  After things finally calmed down, we were ever so dismayed to watch leaf blight begin to ravage most of our tomato plants.  We eventually lost about half of our tomato garden, but what we were able to save are now producing gorgeous fruit in the form of Purple Cherokees, Brandywines, sweet 100’s and of course, lots of romas. 

So I was ever so happy to come across Amy Thielen’s tomato salad recipe (from her new book, The New Midwestern Table).  Holy cow, this really is an incredibly amazing collection of flavors and so far my very favorite thing to do with our fresh tomatoes. 

There are only four components to this salad… the tomatoes, of course, the dressing, a few greens to scatter on top and a good sprinkling of blue cheese.  Sounds simple enough, which it is, but together they create an incredibly scrumptious plate of deliciousness.  You can tell I’m grasping for adjectives here, but what I’m hoping is that you’ll make this for yourself and collect your own adjectives, cuz it’s still early and I’ve only had half of my cup of coffee and floral adjectives don’t really come to me until after at least two and a half cups. 

I used tomatoes and greens right from the garden… mustard greens and arugula were amazing here… and an Irish Kerrygold blue cheese that was just dynamite.  But the dressing is really where this salad takes flight.  We’re only talking olive oil, lemon juice, paprika and red pepper flakes, but boy howdy, I’m not even kidding.  The tomatoes drink it up like crazy and the blue cheese gets in there and it all just dances in your mouth in very happy ways.  I think I’ve just about had enough coffee. 

I think I hear the rustlings of people waking and it’s about time to lay some breakfast plans and talk about lunch before we get our dinner menu in order.  In the meantime, I sincerely hope you will find your way to a plate of this tomato salad.  Here’s the recipe…

Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy, Amy Thielen, The New Midwestern Table

 Any combination of fresh, tasty tomatoes are going to work great here and the same goes for the greens.  Arugula is great, baby lettuces or herb lettuces are wonderful.  I've even used mustard greens.  As for the blue cheese, all I can say is the creamier the better.  I used a Kerrygold Irish blue and it was divine.  Oh, and the red pepper flakes are awesome in the dressing... more is better.

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon
1 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 3/4 pounds heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
3/4 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small bunch watercress, stems removed
1/2 heads radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) crumbled blue cheese 

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients.  In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing, then arrange the tomatoes on a serving dish.

In the same medium bowl, toss the lettuces with the remaining dressing, then arrange atop the tomatoes.  Sprinkle on the blue cheese.

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