Harvest tomato and good stale bread salad. Perfect summer eating
Stale bread and ripe tomato salad. As good as it gets.
Man I love this salad, and when the tomatoes are fat and heavy on the vine, I almost want that loaf of bread to get stale just so I can enjoy this. This is easy-peasy, and if there is a better warm summer lunch outside, I've never had it.
This salad is only as good as the tomatoes, obviously, and is really to be made only at the end of summer, when the tomatoes are eat alone good; but the bread is also important, and you want a bread with some character here. Actually, the bread is always important, and if you have a local baker making good artisan loaves, you need to support that person! Sourdough is ideal, but you do want a white bread, or off white, this is not the salad for a multi grain or hearty rye.
This salad is best with really and truly stale bread. Not quite rock hard, but pretty close; as if you try it with fresh bread, the juices of the tomatoes will turn the bread mushy. Use some bread that would hurt if used as a weapon, and you'll be alright.
No further accompaniments are needed. This is the perfect summer lunch.
Stale bread and tomato salad, for 2 people
2 perfectly ripe, luscious, fragrant tomatoes, preferably still warm from the sun.
2 good handfuls of very stale bread cut into big crouton sized cubes
2 cloves of garlic, minced as finely as possible
½ a small white onion, shaved thinly
A handful of torn fresh basil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
3 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
Cut the tomato into thin, bite sized wedges, and toss with the garlic, the onion, the basil and the bread.
Whisk together the vinaigrette, and pour over the salad. Stir well to ensure that all is coated, and give a generous sprinkle of salt, and a few turns of the pepper grinder.
Taste for salt, let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the bread has softened slightly, and is merely toothsome; and serve.
You could also add a bit of fresh mozzarella, if you are feeling protein deprived, but I think it's at its best in this more simple incarnation, and to add anything else begins to detract from perfection.
Find a spot in the shade and enjoy the waning days of summer with this glorious salad.
Find a good baker, and pay a little bit more for something with taste and character!
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