Thursday, 7 November 2013


Salad of Heirloom cherry tomatoes, homestyle lemon ricotta cheese, lemon balm, cracked black pepper and pink himalayan salt.

                  How can you go past a heirloom tomato, their superior taste and variety of shapes and colours. I am a confessed seed saver and my tomato bank is looking pretty good, last season I added to this with beams yellow, cherry roma, yellow pear, and red fig as shown in photos below. But for this dish the tomatoes you see are store bought and not from my garden for a number of reasons including a late winter harvest, very dry spring has deterred me to plant out and I've decided to green manure for the remainder of spring to prepare for a summer and autumn plant out.                                                    
                 To make this simple little treat a started by putting a little cross on the bottom of each tomato with a pairing knife and placing into salted boiling water for a few minutes, until the skins start to separate from the flesh. I then removed the tomatoes from the boiling water and placed them into an ice water bath to cool enough to handle. I then carefully peeled their skins free and dressed them in some olive oil and lemon juice before placing in the fridge to cool. To make the ricotta I just simply heated some cows milk in a saucepan until just before boiling point being careful not to scold the milk. Turning the heat to low I then added lemon juice until the curd and whey began to break stirring  occasionally before placing the curd into a muslin lined colander with a slotted spoon allowing the curd to drain. The ricotta was then wrapped in the muslin and placed in a bowl and in the fridge to drain some further more.
                   Plating was kept very simple with the tomatoes placed on to plate first followed by the lemon ricotta and then a little cracked blacked pepper and pink himalayan salt to season. The dish was garnished with micro lemon balm leaves to finish off this light refreshing appetiser. I've seen this dish done with basil instead, I've also seen it done with a basil oil. But I wanted to keep the flavours as unadulterated as possible as to taste the to two elements paired with a slight lemon zestfulness.

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