Sunday, April 12, 2009

Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad

There are many things I dread about Summer. As you can probably guess, the heat is complaint number one. I know that living in Southern California doesn’t give me the right to complain too much, but let me just put to rest any mistaken notions that we maintain a constant 75-80 degrees. In my area of Los Angeles County we spend much of June, July and August in the upper 90’s and many days (sometimes weeks) above 100.

The other thing I dread about Summer are large spiders. I’m no stranger to critters. We live in a fairly rural area, so they're certainly expected. I can tolerate the rats and lizards. What I do mind are the creatures with too many legs. Particularly where they would be in the same weight class as a tarantula or small rodent. It doesn’t seem to matter how often we spray, you can bet I’ll have one of those suckers in my bathroom two to three nights a week during Summer and early Fall.

Not too long ago I had a particularly devastating arachnid experience when I walked into our bathroom and found a very large, redish, hairy guy crawling across the bathroom counter. It was so large that I couldn't even bring myself to use a shoe or tissue to kill it. I did the only thing I knew how: I grabbed a large object to push the spider into the sink. I then reached for the faucet (being fully aware that in doing so my hand was within inches of the beast) and turned the water on for a good minute hoping to drown it. After I turned the water off, I watched the drain for a few seconds to make sure it was gone. No such luck. That spider came climbing up and out of the drain like it was nothing. Panicking, I turned the water back on, forced the spider back down the drain and poured nail polish remover down the drain. (My insect spray was out of reach and I wasn’t willing to leave the bathroom to go get some for fear that the spider would get away!) Despite the acetone bath, I was shocked when I saw that spider crawling back out of the sink. I realized then that I was no match for this spider. I turned the water back on, forced him down the drain again and put a heavy glass over the entrance to the drain. I then called my husband into the room to put it out of its misery - and mine too.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about Summer in mid-April. Well, despite my few complaints, there are many things about this warm season that I wait anxiously for all year. Among those are stone fruits and heirloom tomatoes.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was completely overjoyed to discover that one of the vendors at my local Farmer’s Market was selling heirloom tomatoes. The first of April no less! Despite the fact that they were on the small side, I was assured that they were packed with flavor. He wasn’t kidding. This presented the first opportunity of the year to prepare my favorite salad, consisting of locally grown ingredients: Heirloom Tomatoes and Avocados. I could eat this salad several times a week! Every bite is just a reminder of California goodness. To be able to enjoy it in 70 degree weather is just icing on the cake!

Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad

3-4 heirloom tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1 avocado (Sliced into thin wedges)
3 scallions (white parts only)
¼ cup of crumbled goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons of “good” olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon of basil (Chiffonade)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts

Place sliced tomatoes evenly on plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Scatter sliced avocado wedges on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice. Top with goat cheese, scallions, basil and pine nuts and fresh ground pepper.


1 comment:

Meryl said...

Oh gosh, this has to be about my favorite combo ever--can't wait for summer tomatoes!