This salad featured regularly at summer lunches, B.D. (Before Diagnosis!)
Back then I made it with roughly torn pieces of stale white ciabbata bread and sun-sweet tomatoes bursting with juice, assembled an hour or so before eating, dressed and turned over to let the juices do their work melding the oil and garlic and softening the bread.
It then sat, covered, ready for a proud presentation–convenient, as well as delicious.
But when white bread got the boot I was put off making it.
This week I remembered a version I’d had at La Famiglia (favourite Italian restaurant in London) years ago, made with neatly cut smaller pieces of bread that had been fried in olive oil. At the time I was disdainful of its inauthenticity (pompous thought!).
Reminded of how much I missed it, I tried it with a few neat pieces of the 100% organic rye bread I have for breakfast, dribbled with olive oil and browned in the oven for a few minutes.
It got the nod at lunch!
Though Meredith insists this is not worth doing with less than ripe tomatoes–je suis d”accord.
It’s a late summer salad–handy if you have a tomato glut.
3 slices of rye/ wholewheat bread–cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil for tossing the bread in
1 lb ripe, sweet, delicious tomatoes–peeled and roughly chopped with their juice
half a cucumber–peeled and seeded and cut into four pieces
1 fat garlic clove
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
a handful of parsley–chopped
Turn on the oven to 220C/430F
Toss the bread pieces in a tablespoon of olive oil and spread them on a small oven tray and put it in oven as it heats up.
Check after ten minutes to see if the pieces have browned a little.
If so, take them out and let them rest or if not, cook on a few moments more.
Slice the peeled garlic clove as thin as you can.
Then add them to the bread.
Pile on the tomatoes and their precious juice.
Then the cucumber, in chunks…
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour the dressing over the salad.
Having dutifully “followed my own instructions” I realised the plate I’d been assembling the salad on, though it looked good, was too small on which to turn the salad over comfortably!
So I slid it into a mixing bowl, turned it over thoroughly and then carefully back onto the plate. (An exercise a sensible forward-thinking person can avoid!)
Finished by sprinkling over with chopped parsley.