Serves: 4 - Time:
This is a dish for a sweltering day-just what you want to eat when the mercury rises. Living in Scotland I dream of days like that but I am more than happy to tuck into this salad at any time. Tomatoes are at their best right now and the increasingly popular small watermelon varieties are packed with flavour. You could serve it with cold roast chicken or as a side dish at a barbecue or on its own for a light lunch, with perhaps some good crusty bread. Don’t skip salting the tomatoes-this concentrates their flavour and drives off some moisture. Use the best tomatoes you can –as ripe and sweet as possible. I am now never without a pot of fermented cherry tomatoes and a handful of these add an extra dimension to this salad. I highly recommend you look up a recipe –Olia Hercules or Ed Smith in his Crave book both have recipes.
- 600g mixed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Maldon salt
- 245g soft goat’s cheese
- 75g Philadelphia cream cheese
- ½ small watermelon
- ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (pul biber)
- ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- A few black olives and basil leaves
- Score each tomato at the base with a sharp knife (this makes them easier to peel). Bring a pan of water to the boil and carefully lower in the tomatoes. Blanch for 20 seconds then drain and refresh under cold water. Peel off the skins. Slice the tomatoes fairly thinly and place in a colander. Sprinkle over the Maldon salt and leave for 30 minutes.
- Put the goat’s cheese, Philadelphia cheese and a little salt and ground black pepper in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 60 seconds until light and fluffy. Set aside.
- Cut the watermelon into wedges and remove the rind. Slice the flesh into 2-3mm thick pieces. If you don’t like the seeds you can pick them out.
- After 30 minutes pat the tomatoes dry with kitchen paper and place in a wide shallow salad bowl. Add the watermelon and mix together. Sprinkle over the Aleppo pepper and nigella seeds and season with a little salt and ground black pepper. Drizzle over the olive oil. Just before serving dot spoonfuls of the whipped goat’s cheese over the fruit and scatter over some black olives and basil leaves.