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Drunken goat cheese and tomato salad

Ensalada murciana con queso Murcia al vino

Photography by Thomas Schauer



Serves 4

4 ripe beefsteak tomatoes
4 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
4 ripe plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon Spanish aged sherry vinegar, preferably Pedro Ximenez
8 ounces Murcia al vino (red wine-soaked Spanish goat cheese), cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup Empeltre olives or other good-quality black olives, pitted
Fresh thyme sprigs

Using an apple corer, cut out the centers of the beefsteak tomatoes. Trim off the stem end of the center core, cut core in half and set aside. Slice the tomatoes in half. Place a grater over a large mixing bowl. Rub the cut surface of the tomatoes over the grater until all the flesh is grated. Discard the skin. Season the tomato pulp with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, slice off the top and bottom of each plum tomato. Locate the fleshy dividing wall of one segment inside the tomato. Slice alongside the dividing wall and open up the flesh of the tomato to expose the seeds. Remove the seeds and their pulp by slicing around the core of the tomato. Set the seeds aside. Your aim is to keep the pulp of the seeds together to create tomato-seed “fillets” that are separate from the firmer tomato flesh. Finely dice the tomato flesh and set aside.

Whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar together in a bowl and season to taste with salt. Spread the grated tomato pulp on a serving platter. Sprinkle the diced plum tomatoes on top of the pulp. Arrange the reserved beefsteak tomato cores on top. Place the tomato-seed “fillets” around the platter. Top with the cheese and the olives and drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with thyme and sea salt.