Lemon Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio

I get so excited when heirloom tomatoes come back in season that I quite audibly squeal.  I don’t know if it’s the short season (about 2 months if we’re lucky,) or the unique taste that can’t be found in conventional tomatoes, but they are the one veggie I dream about all year long.

I consider the heirloom tomato to be the darling of the farmers’ market.  Out of all the produce that cycles through the market, it seems to elicit a lot of well deserved hype and brings in the most customers by far.  Probably because it is so easy to enjoy and so beautiful on its own that it helps anyone appear just a little more gourmet.

Like with this salad, which I’ve called a carpaccio even though that term is usually reserved for an appetizer of thinly sliced raw meat. I’m not the first, it seems that nowadays any salad made from thinly sliced ingredients can be called a carpaccio, to help sound just a touch more fancy.

This dish also features a special farmers’ market find, the lemon cucumber!  This little beauty is the size of a lemon, with yellow skin and a very subtle citrus flavor, while still tasting for the most part like a cucumber.  This is thinly sliced along with the tomato and some lemon, sprinkled with goat cheese and drizzled with a honey balsamic vinaigrette to make one quick, delicious and beautiful salad.  and enough to share!

Lemon Cucumber and Heirloom Tomato Salad
about 1 lb of heirloom tomatoes
1 medium lemon cucumber
1 small lemon
goat cheese or feta
fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of garlic powder

You can make the dressing ahead of time, it keeps well and it really easy to make to have on hand.  Add equal parts honey, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil into a jar with a pinch of sea salt and garlic powder.  Seal the jar and shake well until the salt and garlic powder are mixed in.  The oil and vinegar will still separate so always shake before pouring.  For the amount used in this recipe you only need about a tablespoon and a half of the vinegar, oil and honey.

Wash the lemon cucumber, tomatoes and lemon.  With a sharp knife slice as thin as possible, removing the ends.  I also sliced a few baby yellow tomatoes in half to top it off.

Arrange the slices on a large plate however is visually appealing to you and sprinkle with either goat cheese or feta and the parsley.  Finally, drizzle with the dressing.  Best enjoyed immediately!  You can eat the lemon slices if they are thin enough but I find two or three are enough for my stomach to handle.

This recipe could also easily be made with a regular cucumber, it could be modified with other herbs like basil, mint or oregano, and would be great with pungent flavors like red onion or minced garlic added.  For another simple tomato salad recipe check out the Rustic Heirloom Tomato Salad I posted last year.

Yields 2-4 servings as a side

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