Whether or not you're lucky enough to grow your own, when tomatoes are fully ripe and fragrant make the most of the season by giving them the starring role. I would happily eat this as a starter, or even on its own with a hunk of quality sourdough bread, but it also makes a brilliant side for meat, seafood or poultry, especially straight from the barbecue.
6 tomatoes (use different types and sizes, making sure that they are ripe and fragrant)
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
30ml red wine vinegar
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
200g ricotta (organic if possible, or make your own)
1 handful basil leaves, torn
1 handful dill fronds
10 dried olives, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp toasted pinenuts
1. Cut the tomatoes into thick slices or wedges – I like to vary the way I cut them, as it both presents and eats better – and add to a large bowl.
2. Add the oil and vinegar to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until combined and tip over the tomatoes. Gently toss the tomatoes through the dressing and stand for a moment before piling onto a serving platter, reserving any juices left behind in the bottom of the bowl.
3. Break the ricotta into large chunks and arrange on top of the tomatoes. Scatter over the herbs, olives and pinenuts and drizzle over the dressing juices from the bowl. Serve immediately.
1. Tomatoes are always best stored and served at room temperature.
2. Use your best peppery extra-virgin olive oil for this salad. Olive oil deteriorates as it ages, becoming rancid over time, so make sure that the oil you buy is as close to the harvest date as possible.
3. Toasted, flaked almonds would be a good alternative to pinenuts.