Not another panzanella recipe

By • August 22, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: For me, simplicity is best when it comes to the freshest, ripest tomatoes. At peak tomato season I can eat some iteration of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, and bread every day. Here's my favorite--I'm toasting the bread, to the point of crunchiness, and I'm not adding a vinegar element, so a panzanella it is not. The dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes I'm using now are well balanced and provide a strong sweet and acidic element. I can't wait until my other favorite, the green zebras start fully ripening, as they provide good acidity and color. This recipe is so simple I don't even consider it worth writing down, but since my process has evolved to this over years of enjoying tomatoes, I might as well share.prettyPeas


Serves 4

  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/2 loaf levain, or other preferred bread
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 bunch basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and one ripped basil leaf to bottom of a large serving bowl. Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces into the bowl and stir to combine. Let sit at least 15 minutes, as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Cut bread into 3/4 inch slices and toast in a toaster oven and toast until sligtly brown. (Or, grill or griddle to the same stage)
  3. When cool enough to handle, rub a clove of garlic over both sides of the toast. If you haven't grated through a clove of garlic every three pieces or so, you aren't pressing hard enough.
  4. Cut the toast into bite-sized cubes. Toss with tomato mixture and taste for saltiness, salt, and pepper.
  5. Tear the basil leaves into the bowl and mix.
  6. You can add an additional element if you have somehow grown tired of peak summer tomatoes. My favorites are sheepsmilk feta, avocado, or fresh mozzarella.

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