Sunday, June 6, 2010
When you are looking to impress company, serve something incredibly healthy, but not have to work hard, this is the one to make. I do recommend making it when tomatoes are at their peak. When that happens, all your senses will be engaged, making this salad a sensual experiences you wont forget.
I couldnt wait another two-ish weeks for that, so the tomatoes were basically flavorless, but the other vegetables stepped up to the plate (so to speak) and provided a great taste adventure.
Please follow my advice - buy (or make if you are as crazy as I am) some incredible crusty bread. Pull out what you will need for the recipe. Let it sit on your counter for at least two days. Yes, I want you to make it stale. Trust me. It will make all the difference in the texture when the bread soaks up the garlicky sauce.
Go Forth and Enjoy!!
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
12 oz ciabatta or any good quality crusty bread
2 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, cubed into bite sizes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff here!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted and chopped
1 cup jarred roasted pepper, chopped
Cut the stale bread in two-inch cubes. Set aside.
Submerge the tomatoes into a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl of ice water to cool slightly. Using a small sharp paring knife, peel off the tomato skins. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into 1-inch cubes and set aside.
NOTE: If you have really good tomatoes with tender skin, you could skip this step.
Toss the tomatoes with the cucumbers and peppers.
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss with the vegetable mixture and basil in a large bowl. Start with half of the dressing, adding more to suit your tolerance level.
2-3 hours prior to serving, add the bread cubes and toss well. Add any additional dressing to lightly coat all bread pieces. The bread should soften without becoming mushy. Refrigerate until an hour prior to serving. I love this salad room temperature!
Although not traditional, you could also add crumbled sheep's milk feta or or grated parmesan cheese prior to serving. Just be ready for the husband to vigorously nod his head up and down in agreement with his first bite!