Vine Ripened Tomato Salad

Bahama Breeze Recipe

Makes 4 Servings

4 ounces of fancy lettuce mix
4 tablespoons Citrus Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
2 vine ripened Beefsteak tomatoes
4 vine ripened Roma tomatoes
12 Red Grape tomatoes, cut in half
12 Yellow Pear tomatoes, cut in half
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons basil, julienne cut
8 large basil leaves
4 Garlic Croutons (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons Seasoned Goat Cheese (See recipe below)

Place the lettuce mix in a salad bowl and add the citrus vinaigrette. Mix until evenly coated with dressing. Then place the lettuce in the center of four chilled dinner plates. Using a sharp knife, cut the vine ripened beefsteak tomatoes into ¼ inch slices and the vine ripened Roma tomatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices.

Shingle four slices of the beefsteak tomatoes to the left side of each salad and eight slices of the Roma tomatoes to the right side of each salad. Place six halves of the grape and yellow pear tomatoes on top of the salad. Season the tomatoes lightly with salt, and garnish with basil julienne and basil leaves. Spread 1 tablespoon of seasoned goat cheese mix on each garlic crouton and place one on the rim of each plate.

Citrus Vinaigrette
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons orange juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 teaspoon lemon Juice, fresh squeezed
2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
pinch of salt & fresh ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until thoroughly blended. Vinaigrette can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated.

Seasoned Goat Cheese
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup sweet onion, 1/4 inch diced
2 ounces Fresh Chevre Goat Cheese
1/2 tablespoon cilantro
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 each Garlic Crouton Rounds (see recipe below)

In a saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil and onions and cook until they become translucent. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix with a rubber spatula to thoroughly blend.  Goat cheese can be made a day in advance and kept refrigerated.

Garlic Crouton Rounds 
4 slices French Baguette Bread (1/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped

Cut the bread crosswise into 4 slices, each about 1/4 inch thick, and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, blend the garlic, chopped parsley and softened butter until thoroughly mixed.

Spread the top and bottom of each slice of bread with about 1/2 a teaspoon of the garlic butter on each side.
Place the buttered croutons on a cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes in a 350 degree, preheated oven. The croutons can be baked up to 1 hour before serving.

Notes: Any great tasting vine ripened tomatoes can be used to prepare this salad. Serve the tomatoes that have the best flavor from your garden or produce grocer.

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