My friend Peg, from fini, and I take turns making lunch for one another each Saturday, as we both work the floor of our respective Market shops. The day is busy from start to finish, so it is nice to know that a tasty lunch is awaiting us. Last Saturday, I made one of my favorite, quick and easy, bread & tomato salads.
We often times have a baguette that we have not finished, and it has become a bit stale. This is when I make this salad. I also like to use a variety of tomatoes, and if the colors vary, all the better.
Cut tomatoes in half or quarter, depending on size. Put in a bowl, and add a good amount of salt to start drawing out the liquid from the tomatoes. I like to grind the pepper quite coarse for this, as I really like seeing the bigger flecks of ground pepper. Use a liberal amount of your favorite extra virgin olive oil. Tear basil leaves into small pieces. Mix all together in the bowl and let rest for a time so the flavors meld.
Next, in the bowl that you are wanting to serve the salad in, hand tear the baguette into bite sized pieces. I think breaking the pieces makes a more rustic looking salad, as opposed to cutting and cubing the bread, but that is fine too. I like to add a bit of salt and more pepper to the bread mixture. Mix in the tomato mixture. Add more basil leaves, but tear them larger than you did earlier. I like the contrast of the small and large pieces of basil.
Let all sit together for at least a half hour, so olive oil and tomato juices really infuse the bread. How long you let it sit really depends on how stale the bread is. You just don’t want the bread to get soggy. I always have a hard time with this wait, and have bites along the way, to test when I think the bread is just right. Waiting is not my strong suit…
If you get a chance to make this salad this Summer, enjoy!