Summer is officially here! I have created a salad featuring cheese curds and roasted tomatoes that is easy to toss together and will make you the talk of the next cookout.
This recipe is pretty straightforward and will require just a little oven operation and a bit sourcing for great ingredients.
Curd Nerd Salad
2 cups of Cheese Curds* (or if you can't find curds use Bocconcini mozzarella balls)
2 cups Roasted Grape Tomatoes
1 Tbs. Fresh Basil, Julienned
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
Kosher (or Sea) Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
1) Pre-heat oven to 400°(oh come on now, you probably have air conditioning in your house. You will be fine!).
2) Line a baking sheet with foil.
3) Wash the grape tomatoes, drain and add to a medium sized mixing bowl (tomatoes will still be a little wet). Scatter a healthy pinch of salt over the tomatoes and toss to coat.
4) Pour tomatoes onto the baking sheet, place in the oven and roast until tomatoes are a little scorched, collapsed and wrinkled up a bit - about 45 minutes.
5) While tomatoes are roasting, julienne the basil leaves and set aside.
6) Remove tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
7) Use a large bowl: add roasted tomatoes, cheese curds and sliced fresh basil and toss together until combined.
8) Add the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to combine.
9) Add salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste and - you guessed it - toss to combine.
10) Allow everything to just mingle together for about an hour before serving.
a) All ingredients should be room temperature when this salad is put together.
b) The roasted grape tomatoes may be made the night before & refrigerated until ready to use (tomatoes made this way are also a delicious, slightly sweet and low calorie add-on to sandwiches, omelets, as a simple side dish to chicken or fish - the possibilities are endless).
* A word about Cheese Curds:
Cheese curds are basically what cheddar cheese looks like before they are pressed together and aged. They are a delight as they are, with a mild, milky taste and springy, squeeky mozzarella-like texture if you eat them fresh. Sadly they are not easy to find and if you live outside of Wisconsin or Québec you probably never have had the pleasure of this taste experience. HOWEVER, if you live in or near New York City you are in luck! Try finding them at Saxelby Cheesemongers or Beecher's.