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I needed something easy and quick for lunch. Having been to the Crystal Palace Food-market at the weekend, I had got some lovely heritage tomatoes.
As a child, my grandad, Joseph Beagley, my Mum’s father, was a keen gardener and he grew three things well. Roses, Sweet Peas and Tomatoes. They really were the most wonderful tomatoes. I can taste them now. I can remember many simple summer meals that just sang out due to the taste of the tomatoes. I really miss that fresh taste, as supermarket tomatoes just do not deliver on flavour, they are so bland and boring. So often picked when under ripe.
The ones from the market smell like proper old tomatoes. They are completely ripe. I couldn’t tell you the varieties but they are an assortment of colours and shapes. Each showcasing natures beauty in its own right.
I wanted to use them and make a simple dish where their flavours would really stand out.
Here is what I did:
Making 2 portions:
4-5 Mixed Heritage Tomatoes (you could use any type of tomatoes)
2 slices of whole-meal Sourdough Bread (or any whole-meal bread)
Handful of washed Spinach Leaves
Handful of Watercress
Bunch of Chives chopped or small onion finely chopped
6-8 slices of Cucumber
2 Tsp of Fake Parmesan Cheese (optional) see recipe: https://bhoneycombe.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/fake-non-dairy-parmesan-cheese/
4 Tbsp of Balsamic Dressing (or just a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar)
1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 Cup of Water
2 Peeled Cloves of Garlic
1/5th of a Tsp of Guar Gum (optional)
1/2-1 Tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave (to taste)
2 x Tsp of French Mustard
Pinch of black pepper and salt or hebamare
Cut up the bread into bite sized croutons and dry fry in a ridged griddle pan (I prefer those as they tend to leave charred lines but not burn). Toss a few times over a medium heat, until dry and crunchy. They take about 5-10 mins.
Whilst the croûtons are cooking wash and cut up the tomatoes.
Assemble the salad –
Place a handful of each of the salad leaves in each serving bowl.
Snip the chives over the top or add finely chopped onion.
Place the slices of cucumber either in or around the salad as shown in the picture.
To make the dressing, blend all the ingredients in a blender. Leave to rest and thicken for 5 minutes. You can adjust the thickness with more or less water/balsamic.
Drizzle with the dressing and throw the croûtons on top.
Sprinkle with a little fake Parmesan to serve.