Marinated Tomato Salad with Sesame-Crusted Goat Cheese
Almost everyone loves the classic Italian salad match of ripe tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. I've swapped sesame-crusted goat cheese for the mozzarella, which gives the dish a delicious Asian twist. The goat cheese is cut into rounds and sautéed to bring out the nutty flavor of the sesame seeds, but if you're feeling lazy, you can just toast the seeds and dip the cheese in them.
Heirloom tomatoes are great for this, but you can use any ripe tomatoes, and any mixture of colors or sizes.
4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
Freshly cracked black peppercorn
1 small onion, white or sweet (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla), halved and very thinly sliced
Leaves from 1⁄2 bunch of basil, sliced into very thin ribbons
1⁄2 cup Five-Herb Vinaigrette
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1⁄2 cup sesame seeds
1 large log (8 to 12 ounces) of goat cheese, cut into twelve 1⁄2-inch slices
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Arrange half of the tomatoes on 4 serving plates and season with the salt and pepper. Top with half the onions and half the basil, and drizzle with half the vinaigrette. Layer over the remaining tomatoes, season again, and top with the remaining onions and basil. Coat with the remaining vinaigrette. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, separately place the flour, egg and water mixture, and sesame seeds on 3 plates. Dip the cheese rounds into the flour and the egg mixture, then coat the flat surfaces of the rounds with the seeds. As you work, place the cheese disks on another plate. (These can be done in advance and stored in the fridge.)
- Heat a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the goat cheese disks and sauté, turning once, until brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Arrange the goat cheese on top of the tomato salads and serve immediately.