Monday, August 8, 2011

Tortillas with Stone Fruit, Mixed Greens, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Okay, so strictly speaking the tortillas aren't critical. But they make a nice base for this light, simple summer meal. You could certainly use flour tortillas, but since I'm avoiding gluten and rice tortillas are really kinda expensive to buy, I'm featuring this using corn tortillas. The tortillas also make great absorber of stone-fruit juices.

The stone fruits, if you're not familiar with the term, include: nectarines, peaches, and plums among others. You can also include the almond, olive, cherries, and elderberries. Probably any of these things (except maybe the almond) could work in a variation of this dish. I've had this to eat a couple of days in a row now, which may speak less to it's goodness (though I do think it's good) than to my transient state of being. I don't want to have a lot of ingredients on hand, take up much room in other people's refrigerators, or feel like I'm weighted down by food. The sun-dried tomatoes and stone-fruits in this dish would make me think of summer even if I ate this at a different time of year (and thanks to the wonders of mass transportation of veggies, I technically could eat this any time of year, but I don't think I will).

Last summer, I made a ton of oven-dried tomatoes when I had a vendor who would sell them to me cheap (a large box of "cooking" tomatoes--meaning ones that were bruised, split, or otherwise ugly--for less than $5). But I haven't lucked out in that way this summer. Instead, I've been buying my sun-dried tomatoes from an Italian foods market for an incredibly reasonable price. Needless to say, I've used fewer sun-dried tomatoes this year than in previous years. Oh, how I yearn for the day when I have a garden of my own and a bunch of tomatoes! In this dish, sun dried tomatoes add a nice earthiness and color to the top of your salad-on-a-tortilla.

This Goat is Trying to Eat my Camera Strap
Marinating the stone fruit in agave, honey, or another sweetner allows the natural juices of the fruit to be released from the cells--the technique is called macerating and if this seems unfamiliar to you, this same technique is often used with strawberries meant to top waffles, ice cream, or angel food cake. For best results, you'll want to chop your fruit moderately finely (smaller than the fruit--peaches--I show in the pictures here).

When I make this dish, I think of my friend Brenna and her boyfriend, Will. This past November, they braved a wet, Midwestern late-fall day to trek two hours west with me to visit a goat farm. We all fell in love with goat cheese that day--I liked it already, but didn't realize that as goat cheese ages, it becomes "goatier"--the quality I didn't like in some goat cheeses.

Tortillas with Stone Fruit, Mixed Greens, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
4 8-inch tortillas (I use corn, but you could use rice, flour, or another type)
4 peaches, plums or nectarines, or a combination, chopped and marinated in 2 teaspoons agave or honey for at least 10 minutes
8+ ounces mixed greens (feel free to use more, especially if you're opting out of tortillas entirely)
2 ounces soft goat cheese*
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, cut or sliced into very thin strips
Balsamic vinegar

Place each tortilla on a plate. Spread 1/4 of the chopped fruit on each tortilla and allow to rest for 5 minutes, so that the juices begin to saturate the tortilla. (If you're not using a tortilla, you might want to place the chopped fruit on top of the salad greens).


Add 1/4 of the mixed greens on top of the fruit, on each plate, then crumble 1/2 ounce of goat cheese on top of the greens.

Arrange the sun-dried tomatoes over the greens and goat cheese, then drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, to taste. Serve.

*To make this vegan, make sure you use agave instead of honey, tortillas made without animal products (i.e. lard), and instead of soft goat cheese, leave it off entirely or mix vegan cream cheese with some fresh herbs. This last variation is what I've done twice now, using plain Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (because I had that on hand).

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