Heirloom tomato, Manouri cheese, green chilli, fig & summer truffle salad

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Preparation info

  • For

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

Late summer, when figs are at their best, summer truffles are around (and nowhere near as expensive as white winter truffles) and there are heirloom tomatoes in the markets, is the time to make this incredibly simple salad. This recipe relies on the best, ripest, sweetest produce. In many ways this is really a recipe to inspire you to get what’s best and available and do almost nothing to it. The green chilli dressing gives all the sweetness a little kick, and the fried Manouri ewe’s milk cheese gives it a savoury edge. Manouri comes from Greece and it is quite a flaky, soft cheese, which benefits from a quick fry over moderate heat. If you can’t find any, then use either haloumi cheese or feta, although the latter won’t benefit from frying. If you do use haloumi then the best thing you can do is slice it 1 cm thick and soak for 4-5 hours in plenty of warm water - this trick, passed down from Tarik and Savas in Istanbul, softens the cheese and removes some of the excess salt. If you can’t find truffles then don’t despair, whilst they do add a certain wow factor to the dish, it will still be lovely as it is without them. Or, you could add a few drops of truffle oil to the dressing.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 heirloom tomatoes, of varying shapes and colours
  • 2 figs
  • ½ green chilli (more or less, to taste)
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) lemon juice
  • 150 g Manouri cheese
  • 1 summer truffle (more or less, to taste)
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil (the best you can afford)

Method

Slice the tomatoes and mix them up between your plates. Remove the stem from the figs then slice them and place on top of the tomatoes. Mix the chilli with the lemon juice and a little salt.

Slice the Manouri into eight pieces then fry on both sides in a pan over a moderate heat, adding a little oil if it looks like it needs it (you won’t need any in a non-stick pan). Sit this on top of the salad, then shave the truffle over that - a potato peeler or a mandolin works well for this unless you happen to have a truffle slicer at hand!

Mix the olive oil into the chilli and lemon juice and drizzle this over the salad and eat while the Manouri is still warm.