Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bread Salad with Charred Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Kalamata Olives


This is an interesting bread salad. At first glance it looks a panzanella salad, but as you get into the preparation of the tomatoes, you’ll find that it isn’t a typical panzanella salad at all. In this salad the tomatoes are broiled in the oven until their skins begin to char and blacken. The smoky flavor of the tomatoes adds a nice dimension to the salad and the kalamata olives contribute a bitter briny, salty note that offsets the crunchiness of the cucumber and croutons.

Another thing that makes this different from a panzanella salad is that the components of the salad do not marinate with the crispy bread croutons for their flavors to meld as they do in a typical panzanella. Here the croutons are tossed in at the last minute.


Take care when you are charring the tomatoes in the broiler that you’ve preheated your broiler and it is very hot before you add the tomatoes. If the tomatoes stay in the hot oven for too long before they char, they will begin to cook through and stew and you definitely do not want stewed tomatoes here.

In the original recipe we found the 3 to 2 ratio of olive oil to vinegar in the vinaigrette to be a bit too vinegary for our tastes, so in the recipe below we’ve cut back to a three to one ratio to solve the problem. It is very important that after the tomatoes have marinated in the vinaigrette with the cucumber and olives for a while that you drain the mixture very well by using a slotted spoon and adding it to a clean bowl tossing with the crusty croutons. Otherwise you will drown the croutons and they will lose all of their crunchiness and turn to mush.

Add the fresh basil at the very last minute to help retain its color and freshness and serve the salad immediately, again because the bread will absorb too much of the vinaigrette if you let it sit and your salad will turn into a soggy mess.

This is a great way to enjoy end-of-season tomatoes.


Bread Salad with Charred Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Olives
Adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Vegetable of the Day by Kate McMillan – serves 4

Croutons:

8 oz coarse country bread, about ½ a loaf, cut into 1” cubes, we used sourdough
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot, add the bread cubes & sprinkle with salt. Cook the croutons over medium heat, tossing frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until croutons are nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. Remove the croutons from skillet and set aside while you prepare the salad.

Salad:

3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes, about 2 ½ lbs, several colors make it pretty
1 small English cucumber
½ of a red onion, peeled and diced
¾ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half lenthwise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon
Freshly ground black pepper
½ bunch of basil leaves, torn in pieces

Preheat the broiler. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the tomatoes on the prepared sheet, stem side up. Broil until the skins begin to char and blacken, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the tomatoes over with tongs and broil for 2 to 3 minutes more. It may take longer depending on the size of the tomatoes or the heat of your broiler. Take care not to let the tomatoes cook through and begin to stew. When charred, remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. With tongs, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board and cut in half horizontally, then coarsely chop. Remove and discard any of the stem and any loose skin from the tomatoes, but it is fine if a few bits of charred skin remain. Transfer the chopped tomatoes to a large bowl.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut the halves crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Add the cucumber to the tomatoes along with the onion, olives, olive oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix. Let the salad stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour for the flavors to blend.

Just before serving, using a slotted spoon transfer the tomato salad to a clean bowl, leaving behind the accumulated juices for a moment. Toss in the toasted bread cubes and gently stir with a wooden spoon. If the salad needs more juice, add some of the liquid, a little bit at a time, from the other bowl, taking care not to soak the croutons. The croutons should remain a bit crispy. When you are happy with the salad, taste for seasonings, add the basil and toss gently again. Serve immediately.



This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.

Have a great weekend everyone.


38 comments:

  1. A splendid and colorful salad! I'm sure it tastes absolutely gorgeous.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Beautiful! I love the fresh flavors in this salad. I have never considered charring the tomatoes in this type of salad. That is definitely something new for me to explore.

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  3. Very nice! I did think panzanella salad but see the difference. I think the crunch of unmarinated croutons add a nice dimension. All flavors that we enjoy.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  4. Great salad, Sam! I would like this much better than panzanella, with the tomatoes charred and crunchy croutons. Sounds like a winner to me and I want to try it! Plus, it's pretty!!!

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  5. What a gorgeous salad, Sam. It has moved to the top of my "must-try" list. I love the color that it would add to the table. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  6. This sounds really good! I love the idea of charring the tomatoes.

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  7. A really colourful and appetizing bread salad, Sam.

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  8. Yum! Love bread salads! Such a great transition between summer and fall! xoxo-KSP

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  9. This might just be my favorite ever :-)

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  10. This sounds wonderful Sam! Love the idea of charring the tomatoes and wish I had a bowl full in front of me now:@)

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  11. Love the idea of the tomato broiling method..brings out the flavors even more!
    We're charring a bushel of peppers this w/e:)

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  12. This sounds wonderful. I love panzanella and the idea of charring the tomatoes is perfect!

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  13. Looks and sounds delicious, Sam.

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  14. This is the perfect salad. Thanks for adding your ratio method - it took me forever to learn this - if only someone had said it sooner. :) Mom said just mix it until it taste right.

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  15. Now, here is another reason I wish I had an endless supply of basil! This looks so beautiful and tasty.

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  16. It sounds so fresh and summery Sam. A last hurrah to those beloved summer tomatoes.

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  17. This looks delish! I'm a new GFC follower :)

    P.S. I'm hosting a giveaway that you might be interested in!
    www.domesticsweetheart.com

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  18. The salad looks beautiful - I am fascinated by how heat, toasting roasting and charring can change and intensify flavors. You also always give such good direction - I would be the one looking at the stewed tomatoes and wondering what happened ...

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  19. Gorgeous salad - we still have a few months to go before we get into full on tomato season, but I'll be remembering this dish when they arrive.

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  20. Ooh, I haven't made a salad in FOREVER! This looks SO good!

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  21. I always mean to make a bread salad... both of grandmothers used to make something like this. Love your recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

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  22. The charred tomatoes really make the difference....the broiling release the natural sugars in the tomatoes which really lend itself to this salad. Love, love it. A perfect early fall entree.

    Velva

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  23. The salad looks and sounds delicious and I know I would love it. The second shot makes me want to reach for a fork.

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  24. Mmmm...these are a few of my favorite things! I'm sure I'll love this.

    I made your Manhattan Fish Chowder (.and used real, wild shrimp) and we loved it. The next day I added a little Marsala to the leftovers and that was really nice too!

    Re freezing herb butter in jars -- it keeps forever!

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  25. Hi Sam,
    I just love this salad and could eat it every day, it is delicious! Hope you are having a fantastic weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

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  26. This kind of reminds me of the veggie sub I get a few times a week, only toasted. Love it.

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  27. looks delicious...just mouthwatering!

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  28. This is definitely a different recipe from a traditional panzanella and one that I know I would enjoy.

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  29. Dear Sam, What a beautiful salad. I would gladly sit down to enjoy this. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  30. I could happily munch my way through an enormous bowl of this delicious salad - perfection!
    Mary x

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  31. I could happily munch my way through an enormous bowl of this delicious salad - perfection!
    Mary x

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  32. This salad reminds me that summer is not over :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  33. Completely scrumptious, Sam. I have a few tomatoes left and this is a delicious way to use them. Now that the weather has turned nasty I'm craving heartier salads and this fills the bill. The charred tomatoes must add a wonderful flavor.

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  34. This is my kind of salad, I love everything in here especially the charred tomatoes.

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  35. how come bread salad is so darn good. I mean if you think about it its just bread with veggies but it is so dang good. So filling and rich!

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  36. Nice and refreshing salad Sam, I like the idea of having lots of different textures, especially the crunchy bread.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

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  37. What a delicious riff on panzanella, Sam. The tomatoes have so much more flavor when they've been broiled...a super idea. Much prefer crunchy croutons too. Altogether a beautiful salad, one I would be happy eating for dinner. (Makes a lovely presentation too. So colorful!)

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  38. This is like a sandwich you eat in forkful bites! I love it. I've always liked panzanella but the idea of saving the "crunch" is quite appealing!

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