John and I had dinner the other night at The Odd Duck Trailer. Among other things, we had venison sausage on baguette with sauerkraut and aioli; pork belly sliders with peppers, red onion, and arugula; whole quail with Texas caviar; and tomato salad with melon, feta, and Texas olive oil.
Everything was superb. Maybe surprisingly, the tomato and melon salad was my favorite dish. To me, it was the epitome of owner/chef Bryce Gilmore’s (genius) approach to cooking; that is, to take fresh, local, seasonal ingredients and “not mess them up.” As Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Here’s to Bryce, who is brave enough to be simple.
This recipe for tomato salad with peaches and goat cheese is my version of Bryce’s dish. If possible, use garden fresh tomatoes, farm-fresh peaches, Pure Luck goat cheese, and local extra virgin olive oil. I like to add the goat cheese after tossing the tomatoes and peaches with olive oil. This way, the cheese stays in nice little clumps (instead of turning the entire dish white). I add the basil at the last minute, too, as the edges of the leaves will begin to blacken soon after they are torn.
Simple Yet Sophisticated Tomato & Peach Salad
25-30 cherry tomatoes, halved
5-6 ripe peaches, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, for seasoning
5 ounces Pure Luck Goat Cheese
4 large leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Place tomatoes and peaches in a large bowl. Just before serving, add olive oil and salt. Toss to combine. Add goat cheese, in small clumps. Sprinkle torn basil leaves over salad. Serve immediately, at room temperature.