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Tomato Salad With Sherry Vinegar, Fresh Herbs, And Blue Cheese

April 2016

Ensalada De Tomates Con Vinagreta De Jerez Y Hierbas Frescas Al Cabrales

Serves 4

8 cherry tomatoes
2 pounds ripe tomatoes of any variety (the important thing is ripeness)
2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon José Andrés Reserva Sherry Vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons each of:
2 tablespoons flat parsley leaves torn into pieces
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons whole chervil leaves
2 tablespoons fennel leaves torn into pieces
2 tablespoons dill, torn into pieces
2 pearl onions, cut into thin slices
4 ounces soft blue Cabrales cheese, broken into small pieces (or any other good blue cheese like Stilton)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil. In a medium bowl, prepare an ice-water bath. Drop the cherry tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds. Drain immediately and immerse the tomatoes in the ice water to halt the cooking process. Remove the skins and cut in half.

Using a sharp knife, slice off the top and bottom of each of the larger tomatoes. Locate the fleshy dividing wall of one segment inside the tomato. Slice alongside the dividing wall and open up the flesh of the tomato to expose the seeds. Remove the seeds and their pulp by slicing around the core of the tomato. Set the seeds aside. Your aim is to keep the pulp of the seeds together to create tomato seed “fillets” that are separate from the firmer tomato flesh. Repeat with each segment of the tomato.

Remove the skin from the other, non-cherry tomatoes with a sharp knife, and then cut the flesh into small cubes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the oil and vinegar together to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, mix together the parsley, chives, chervil, fennel leaves and dill.

For each serving, place the tomato cubes at the bottom of a bowl. Add 2 sets of the pulpy seeds to each bowl. On top of the cubes, add 6 slices of onion and 2 halves of cherry tomato around the bowl. Place 6 pieces of cheese close to the onions. Pour the dressing on top. Sprinkle with the mixed herbs.