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Tomato salad

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Tomato salad

Ricotta cheese

1

In a heavy saucepan, warm the milk, buttermilk and nutmeg over high heat. Stir the mixture frequently until it reaches 120 degrees (warm to the touch), about 2 to 3 minutes.

2

Stir occasionally; the milk will begin to separate. When it reaches 175 degrees to 180 degrees, about 1 to 2 minutes, gently scrape the bottom of the saucepan. The curds will rise to the top. Cook at 180 degrees for 1 minute.

3

Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl or pot large enough to catch the liquid from the cheese. Pour the contents of the saucepan into the strainer. Gently stir in the Parmesan and salt while the mixture is still hot. Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie it up with string. Let it drain for 15 minutes. Once the ricotta is at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1 cup.

Croutons

1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Tear the baguette into chunks, toss lightly with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Makes 2 cups.

Tomato salad and assembly

1

Keep the tomatoes at room temperature. Cut them into different shapes and sizes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil. Arrange on serving plates.

2

Drizzle the tomatoes with the aged balsamic vinegar. Scatter the croutons and torn basil atop the tomatoes. Top each salad with two quenelles of ricotta cheese (about 2 tablespoons each).


Betty Hallock was the deputy Food editor, covering all things food and drink for the Saturday section and Daily Dish blog. She started at The Times in 2001 in the Business section and previously worked on the National desk at the Wall Street Journal in New York. She’s a graduate of UCLA and New York University.
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