Summer Tomato Salad With Whipped Ricotta

whipped ricotta salad

It’s late August and summer tomatoes are in major abundance, all vine ripened and at the height of their flavor. Tomato salads have been a consent in my house, I’m either buying them or having them dropped off at my house by family or friends who have gardens of their own and their crop is overflowing. Believe me I’m not complaining, fall will be here before we know it!

There’s some salads that just stick out in your mind, I’ll be dreaming about this one in the dead of winter. What’s so special about this salad besides the vine ripened juicy heirlooms gracing the top, is that the base of this salad is a layer of whipped ricotta which has a hint of lemon zest and herbs folded into it.

tomatoes and ricotta

On top of the whipped ricotta there’s a salad layer of lemony arugula. One thing is certain, you must have crusty bread when you eat this! I’m telling you it’s a meal in itself!

whipping ricotta

You want to look for a dryer type ricotta, not one that has a lot of moisture, if that’s the only kind you can find then I would drain it for a couple of hours in a strainer.

Less than a minute in a food processor and the ricotta takes on a beautiful smooth consistency with a touch of olive oil drizzled in.

smooth ricotta

Parsley, basil and lemon zest was folded in for additional flavor.

tomatoes and whip ricotta

Slice up some colorful heirlooms and mix them in with other varieties and use the best extra virgin olive oil you have.

summer tomatoes and ricotta

I added some sliced red onion and olives to round it all out, it’s outrageous! Put this on a big platter and watch it disappear .

whipped ricotta

I hope you make this, but don’t forget the crusty bread please!

zucchini and whipped ricotta

If you find yourself with an abundance of zucchini, here’s another use for whipped ricotta, I did a post on this a while ago, zucchini ribbon salad with whipped ricotta.

Summer Tomato Salad With Whipped Ricotta
 
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Ingredients
  • A variety of summer heirloom tomatoes, sliced. Enough to cover the ricotta. A variety of colors makes a nice presentation
  • 2 cups ricotta, on the dryer side, if too wet drain it for a couple of hours
  • Good olive oil for drizzling and to add to the ricotta
  • the juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups arugula, roughly
  • sliced red onion
  • olives for plating
  • parsley and basil a heaping tablespoon each, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a loaf of crusty bread
Instructions
  1. FOR THE WHIPPED RICOTTA
  2. Place ricotta into the bowl of a food processor and add in 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, process for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Scoop out into a bowl and fold in the zest and chopped herbs.
  5. Toss the arugula with lemon juice and olive oil.
  6. Spread whipped ricotta mixture onto a platter, drizzle top with olive oil, then topped with arugula salad, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions.
  7. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt, then a good drizzle of olive oil all over, place olives all around.
  8. Place slices of crusty bread all around the platter.

 

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The Heat Is On!

The temperature is rising here in Chicago so lighter meals and salads are now on the menu.
This extremely delicious salad just screams summer! It’s fresh and bursting with healthy vibrant color, how could you resist?
Ribbons of yellow squash and green zucchini take center stage on a bed of mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette.
 The other components are, sliced mini heirloom tomatoes of various colors, red and orange pepper strips, purple onion,
peas and grilled corn, ( which I grilled inside) finished off with dots of creamy goat cheese and crunchy hazelnuts and a drizzle more vinaigrette.

Crispy bread and a tall iced tea and your set for the perfect summer meal, of course feel free to add in some grilled chicken for a little heartier fare, but I was totally satisfied.
There are no exact ingredients here just add in as much as you want, you can’t go wrong. I layered a platter with mixed greens to start. For mine I used 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, the ribbons were made with a vegetable peeler.  It was way too hot to go outside and grill so I put 2 ears of corn in the microwave for 5 minutes then threw them on my grill pan inside to give them a good char.

It looks beautiful spread out on a big platter because of all the colors, so keep this in mind for your July 4th cookout, it would work great as a side.

Stay Cool!

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Tiny Tomatoes: Big Taste

Even though it’s not tomato season in my area yet I can always find those sweet little grape tomatoes along with Campari tomatoes on the vine, and just recently I’ve been buying the mini heirlooms packaged as Gourmet Medley, all of them have such great flavor in every bite.

Recently I went a little overboard in the tomato department and had to find ways to use all that I had, besides I can’t bare to waste them! Great in salads but also great to cook with, which I often do. Here are a couple of ways I like to enjoy them.

Zucchini Boats

 

Just cut a zucchini in half lengthwise and trim a little off the bottom so it sit still in a baking dish*** Scoop out the center where the seeds are with a spoon*** Brush the surface with a mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper*** Arrange halved grape tomatoes into the grooves, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes*** Remove and place diced fontina or mozzarella in between the tomatoes, place them back in, but now under the broiler til golden and bubbling***Remove and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. You will love this as a side dish!

Caprese Tart

 

This comes together so quickly, I even used a store bought pie dough. I love the flavor of the tiny heirlooms which makes this tart taste spectacular!

 

Place your pie dough on a removable bottomed tart pan, I used a 9 inch one here*** Prebake your pie crust in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes*** Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees*** Drizzle olive oil on top of the crust along with fresh snipped basil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese*** Layer the bottom of your crust with slices of fresh mozzarella, and since I had some fontina left from my zucchini boats, I mixed that in as well*** Arrange your halved tomatoes all around the tart right on top of the cheese*** Add more snipped basil and another drizzle of olive oil*** Bake for about 25 minutes*** Let it cool down before you cut into it. This, with a nice tossed salad is perfect for dinner!
Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
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A Blast from the Past…Heirloom Tomatoes

Have you ever tasted heirloom tomatoes? We’re actually trying to grow them in our garden this year, the ones pictured here are not mine, I bought these beauties from Whole Foods the other day, I just couldn’t resist that fluted one! Normally a whopping $5.00 dollars a pound, the day I was there they were just 2.99! Such a deal!!

Heirlooms are grown from seeds handed down through generations, somewhere between 50 and 100 years old. There’s no genetic modifications, they are cross- pollinated, and they are not cookie cutter hybrids.

They come in all shapes and sizes, lumps and bumps, hundreds of varieties, with almost every color of the rainbow to choose from.
Heirlooms generally have much more flavor than hybrids, it’s that good old fashioned taste of a real tomato I remember as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I have tasted some duds, but that was mainly because of where they were grown.

When you see them popping up at the farmers markets ask to taste them, you’ll quickly pick out your favorite ones. Or better yet, trying growing your own if you can!
I loved how the fluted one looked after I cut into it, I didn’t want to hide it with a bunch of cheese. They look beautiful on a platter dressed up with the simplest of ingredients, don’t you think?

With some good crusty bread, a glass of wine, you can make a meal out of these, they’re that good!!
Have an enjoyable weekend, and Buon Appetito!
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