This is the last of a series of posts with tomatoes as the star, and it's a beauty. I started a sourdough crusade this summer. It's been quite a journey, but one of the by-products is lots of partially stale loaves of bread. So dear readers, get ready for a proliferation of peasant dishes that find ingenious ways of using up old bread. This dish combined the need to get rid of some bread, and also a way to showcase my tomato confit.
The real trick of this dish is to coat the bread liberally in sunflower or other vegetable oil, and bake until all sides are golden and crispy. Then it basically comes together like a dream. Toss the bread and basil in your favorite vinaigrette. I recommend adding some capers and a mashed anchovy for depth of flavor.
Make sure that you use plenty of acid in your dressing, you need a lot to brighten up the dish and keep all flavors from becoming too heavy. I used both cider vinegar and lemon juice liberally. It's also a good idea to make this at least two hours ahead so the bread has a chance to soak up the juice from the tomatoes and the dressing. If you want the salad to be a bit more on the green side, I would recommend using finely sliced cavolo nero kale. Also a liberal sprinkling of parmesan cheese never hurt anyone.
Tomato Confit Panzanella
For the Salad
- Half or full loaf of almost stale sourdough, cut into cubes
- Big bunch of basil, roughly chopped
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 cups roughly chopped tomato confit or fresh tomatoes
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or oil from the tomato confit)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 mashed anchoy
- 2 tablespoons chopped capers
Toss the cubed bread in sunflower or other vegetable oil. You could also throw garlic or other spices on these, to your own taste. Bake in an oven at 350, tossing frequently, until all sides of the bread are toasted and golden brown.
Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil and toss in the bread, when it has cooled sufficiently. Toss until all the bread is coated. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
This dish makes an amazing side dish to grilled chicken or steak.