Tomato and Ricotta Salad

“From the LA Times, this salad is a taste of summer. Tomatoes from the garden or the farm market and ricotta you make yourself--yum! The directions look long--but it's really simple and you can take a shortcut and buy your ricotta, but do try making your own--it's really luscious. Prep time does not include time to cool the homemade ricotta. Note: If you have 'ordinary' balsamico, you can simmer it over medium low heat, uncovered, for a few minutes and thicken it slightly--it will taste much richer.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For the ricotta:.
  2. 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.
  3. Now 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.
  4. Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl or pot large enough to catch the liquid from the cheese and pour the contents of the saucepan into the strainer.
  5. Gently stir in the Parmesan and salt while the mixture is still hot.
  6. Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie it up with string and let it drain for 15 minutes.
  7. 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).
  8. For the croutons:.
  9. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Tear the baguette into chunks, toss lightly with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes until golden (makes 2 cups).
  12. For the assembly of the salad:.
  13. Cut the tomatoes (which you have NOT refrigerated)into different shapes and sizes.
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste; drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil; and arrange on serving plates.
  15. Drizzle the tomatoes with the aged balsamic vinegar.
  16. Scatter the croutons and torn basil atop the tomatoes.
  17. Top each salad with two quenelles of ricotta cheese (use two tablespoons to form the cheese into ovals, each about a tablespoon of cheese).

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