It’s summer time and heirloom tomatoes are at their best! This Heirloom Tomato Napoleon with Maytag Blue Cheese Crumbles is a simple and impressive salad that will be perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
The sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes have that fresh summer flavor that pairs perfectly with crumbles of creamy blue cheese and spicy watercress. Just a little olive oil and lemon juice is all that is needed to dress up this salad and let those flavors shine.
Heirloom tomatoes are so interesting, they grow in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes and the flavors are different as well. For example in this salad the red tomato grew with ridges and when it was sliced it looked like a pretty lace doily. It is a little acidic while the smooth orange tomato has a mild sweet flavor and the brownish-red tomato also has some sweetness to it. These tomatoes have wonderful flavor and do not taste the same as those hot-house tomatoes.
The local Farmers’ Markets may offer the best and freshest choices for heirloom tomatoes but they can also be found in the produce organic section in most grocery stores.
Heirloom tomatoes remind me of my grandma’s tomato patch and that awesome fragrance that clings to you as you pick the tomatoes off the plants.
We used Maytag blue cheese with this recipe and the creaminess of the cheese compliments the sweetness and texture of the tomatoes. Other wonderful cheese choices would be soft goat cheese, thin slices of fresh mozzarella, or shards of salty Parmesan. The spicy watercress and onion slices add color, flavor and complexity to the salad.
For this simple salad, we sliced our tomatoes, seasoned them lightly with salt/pepper and stacked them into towers layered with watercress and Maytag blue cheese crumbles. Each tomato Napoleon was topped off with thinly sliced red onion and drizzled with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
Tomato trivia: The tomato is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna….the leaves of the tomato plant are toxic.
- 3 medium heirloom tomatoes, about 1 pound, any color
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces Maytag blue cheese or cheese of choice
- 1 small bunch fresh watercress or 1 cup arugula leaves
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Cut each tomato into 4 equal slices. Place the bottom tomato slices on 4 individual salad plates and sprinkle each tomato slice lightly with salt and pepper.
- Add the blue cheese to a small saucer and with a fork pick it into crumbles.
- Place a few crumbles of blue cheese and some of the watercress sprigs on each of the tomato slices. Repeat the layers two more times.
- In a small dish whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together and drizzle 1 tablespoon over each tomato Napoleon.
- Top each tomato Napoleon with sliced red onion. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.
- Heirloom tomatoes grow in funny misshapes but it will not affect their taste. It is ok if they have scars and are not ‘perfect and beautiful’. As long as there is no breaks in their skins or bruised, mushy areas they are safe to eat.
- Pick it up and get a feel for weight, it should feel heavy for its size. That heaviness will give you an idea of the juiciness of the fruit.
- Take a sniff at the stem section as a ripe heirlooms should have an earthy, tomato scent. Do not buy it if it smells musty.
- Avoid pressing it as it will cause bruising. Don't pile heirloom tomatoes on top of each other. The weight of too many tomatoes can result in squashed tomatoes.
- Store the tomatoes at room temperature. Do not refrigerated the tomatoes. A temperature lower than 50 degrees will destroy both flavor and texture.
Amount Per ServingCalories 214 Total Fat 17g Saturated Fat 8g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 28mg Sodium 454mg Carbohydrates 6g Fiber 1g Sugar 3g Protein 9g