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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
- 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
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Cut the toast into bite-sized cubes. Toss with tomato mixture and taste for saltiness, salt, and pepper.
- Tear the basil leaves into the bowl and mix.
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fresh Tomato Showstopper