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Recipe: Tomato salad with pickled shallots and goat cheese croutons

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Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: This looks best with tomatoes of different colors.

2 shallots, sliced moderately thin

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

1/4 pound fresh goat cheese

3 tablespoons minced chives (about 1 bunch)

1 baguette (about 3/4 pound)

1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, sliced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick rounds

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1. Combine the shallots and the vinegar in a small bowl and set aside at least 1 hour. Combine the garlic and one-fourth cup of the oil in another small bowl and set aside at least 30 minutes. In a small bowl beat together the goat cheese and chives.

2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguette at a sharp angle to create 8 long, three-fourths-inch thick spears of bread. Strain the garlic from the olive oil and brush the bread on both sides with the oil. Discard the garlic or save for another use. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Put the tomatoes in a wide bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Strain the vinegar from the shallots into a small bowl and then beat in the remaining one-fourth cup of oil. Pour this over the tomatoes and toss gently to coat the slices without breaking them.

4. Rap each toasted baguette slice rather sharply in about the middle with the back of a chef's knife to break it into a couple of large, rough pieces. Spread each piece with the goat cheese mixture.

5. Arrange the dressed tomatoes in a wide serving bowl or on plates, being careful to mix colors and sizes. Carefully separate the shallot slices into individual rings and scatter them over top. Arrange the bread spears around the outside and serve.

Each of 6 servings: 388 calories; 9 grams protein; 35 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 24 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 9 grams cholesterol; 424 grams sodium.