Tomato and Bread Salad
We like this recipe–in addition to tasting wonderful, it uses up a lot of tomatoes coming out of the garden and our homemade bread that may be getting stale. This dish is also versatile and can be adapted to a variety of ingredients and herbs. As a basic recipe, I use “Grilled Bread and Tomato Salad” found on Epicurious.com.
We really like the grilled bread. The original recipe calls for day-old Italian bread. I use thick slices of the 100% whole wheat bread that I bake from freshly-ground wheat from our storage. The original recipe also includes instructions to seed and grill the tomatoes. I choose not to do that. I prefer fresh, uncooked tomatoes instead of cooked. There is plenty of bread to absorb the tomato juice, and I agree with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, September and October 2011, p. 16:
Keep the taste in tomatoes
If excess moisture isn’t an issue, ignore any instructions to remove the seeds and “jelly” from tomatoes. The guts are where the flavor is; in fact, they contain three times the amount of flavor-enhancing glutamic acid as the flesh.
Instead of spreading the bread with melted butter and garlic prior to grilling, you may prefer olive oil and garlic. I also use 5 or 6 cloves of garlic instead of the recommended 2 and include garlic in the vinaigrette. Yes, we love garlic and grow it in the garden.
The basil and tarragon are good in the salad, but you may use Italian parsley, chives, or any other fresh herb that you have available. I use more onion than the 1/4 cup in the original recipe, but you may use scallions or shallots if you want a milder flavor. I sometimes add cut up fresh mozzarella or goat cheese just before serving.
This is the version of Bread and Tomato Salad that I typically make.
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
5-6 cloves garlic, minced (for garlic butter to put on bread)
5-6 slices crusty home-baked bread
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced (add to vinaigrette)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 -7 ripe tomatoes, diced in large pieces (may include equivalent amount of cherry tomatoes, halved)
1/2 to 1 cup onions, diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese, or crumbled feta, or goat cheese (optional)
Tomatoes, Onions, and Herbs
- Preheat grill to hot with lid closed and oil grill racks.
- Melt butter with garlic in microwave until hot. Brush mixture on both sides of the sliced bread.
- Place bread on the hot grill, close lid, and grill until well-marked. Turn over and grill other side. Depending on the moisture content of bread and heat, this will take 1 to 2 minutes per side. Watch closely.
- Cut bread into 3/4″ cubes
- Use wire whip to stir vinegar and garlic while drizzle in the olive oil to help emulsify it.
- In a large bowl mix together tomatoes, onions, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add bread cubes and cheese and fold in.
- Serve at room temperature.