Inspired by Italian panzanella, this is an alternative to tomato pasta salad, featuring fresh foods of the season- tomatoes, raspberries and basil. It works equally well pool-side or at a more formal buffet. Note that the tomato water needs to be started one day ahead and placed in the fridge for the flavors to meld.
Fresh Tomato Bread Salad With Raspberries and Basil
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Italian, French
- Tomato Water:
- 1/2 cup onion or 4 shallots
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch basil
- 4 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 2 dashes sherry or red wine vinegar
- 2 dashes balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 loaf sourdough or hearty rustic bread
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces fresh raspberries
- 4 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, preferably a variety of heirlooms and/or various sizes and colors
- 3/4 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped, plus a few reserved whole for garnish
- [i]fleur de sel[/i] or sea salt
- good olive oil
- A day ahead, place all ingredients for tomato water in blender. (Because of the large recipe size, you’ll probably have to divide the ingredients and do this twice.) Add a little bit of water and blend well. Put the tomato water in the fridge and forget about it till the next day.
- On the following day, set a fine sieve over a bowl. Pour the tomato mixture into the sieve and let it drain into the bowl for about 30 minutes stirring every now and then to encourage the water to filter down. Reserve or freeze the tomato pulp for future use, i.e. for gazpacho or pasta sauce.
Almonds and Croutons:
- In a skillet or roasting pan, large enough to cook the croutons afterwards, heat the butter on medium-high and add the almonds. Stir frequently until they’re golden. Remove the almonds from pan and place to one side.
- Remove the crust from the bread and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
- In a large skillet or roasting pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. (Again, depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to divide the ingredients and do this step twice.)
- When the oil is hot, add the bread and fry the cubes until golden brown (about 10 minutes) adding the garlic and herbs for the last couple of minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes into small irregular chunks.
- Place them in a large salad bowl, with the croutons, almonds, raspberries and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle with olive oil and gently toss.
- Add the tomato water, so that it puddles in the bottom of the bowl.
- Drizzle with olive olive oil and sprinkle with more salt, if desired.
- Serve in shallow bowls with lots of tomato water.