Jul 23, 2010

Baby Heirloom Tomato, Basil, Sourdough Salad

Baby heirloom tomatoes, basil, and toasted sourdough bread to make a fantastic salad!

As I promised earlier in the week, here is the salad that I paired with those zucchini pancakes! This was one of those combinations that you honestly can’t go wrong with…especially during the summer months when the tomatoes and basil are as fresh as can be! I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of July and all these fresh, vibrant fruits and vegetables will be hard to come by soon. Of course you can still find them in your grocery store but, when not in full season, produce like this just doesn’t taste the same. This is definitely a side dish that is all about summer time!

Not only is this summer ¬†on a plate, but I can’t tell you how easy this really was to put together! It only took a little toasting of the bread (a relatively hands off task) and then some tomato chopping. Throw everything in a bowl, add a few extras, toss, and I was ready to eat!

Here’s what you’re going to need, not too much!


(Adapted from Cooking Light. Serves 2)

  • 2-3 slices good sourdough bread (I used a loaf from Whole Foods)
  • 1 large cartoon of baby grape heirloom tomatoes
  • ~1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

The first place to start is with the bread. I took the slices of sourdough and cut them into small squares, arranged them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. The goal is to get the pieces crunchy so keep a good eye on them so they don’t get so hard you or your guests are crunching so loud you can’t hear yourself think or them talk!

While the bread is crunching up, you can move on to the tomatoes. They couldn’t get much easier than this: wash, half or quarter (depending on how big they are) and put in a big toss bowl. DONE! I told you they couldn’t get much easier! As a side note, you can use plane grape or cherry tomatoes for this but I have to say the sweetness and the color that heirloom tomatoes add to the dish is to die for! Definitely go with heirloom if you can find them!

Heirloom Tomatoes: Summer doesn't get much better than that!

All that is left are those ingredients that add that one last burst of flavor. In a small glass, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic, and sugar until the sugar has completed dissolved. You can then pour it over the tomatoes and then add in your basil. I tore/cut my basil up a little bit so it wasn’t left in big leaf bites.

Once the bread is all crunched up, I like to leave it out of the salad until I am ready to sit down and eat. Unless you have super crunched up bread, if you add it way before you’re ready to eat, I fear that you run the risk of sitting down to slightly soggy bread. That is never a crowd pleaser…or at least not in my book! But, when it’s time, add the bread and give it one last good toss!

Everything tossed, ready to eat!

So I’m not joking when I say that the it probably took me the same amount of time to write up this recipe for y’all as it did for me to actually put the dish together! I almost said make the dish, but in actuality there wasn’t much cooking or ‘making’ action going on here. All that was required of me was about 10-15 minutes, a little chopping, whisking and tossing. For those summer nights when you want something fast, healthy, light and fresh I completely recommend this meal! It paired perfectly with the zucchini pancakes I shared earlier and believe me when I say this meal will be made at least once more before finding fresh baby heirlooms is just a wish. How I wish I could keep my fresh summer produce around all year long! But, before I know it, summer will have disappeared and it’ll be time to make those fall comfort meals. Let’s not think about that too much and just enjoy what we have at the moment! For now, that’s baby heirloom tomato, basil and sourdough bread salad…in the shell of a nut!

Heirloom tomato, basil, sourdough salad paired with zucchini pancakes.

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