MORE tomatoes…. what to do?
Hi, my name is Kathryn and I’m a tomatoholic. I can’t stop buying tomatoes at the farmers market, even though I don’t need them, and then they sit on the counter for days, almost going bad, before I use them. I’m drawn to them because they look so pretty (or because they have cool names), and even though they’re expensive and I don’t need them, I buy them anyways. Yup, I have a problem.
On Saturday I went to the farmers market bright and early, and when I came back the boyf was still asleep. I woke him up to show him the fresh figs I bought. Then I woke him up to show him the pretty cherry tomatoes.
See, aren’t those nice??? Then I woke him up to show him the cute little bright purple plums that were extraordinarily overpriced. Then it was the fabulous chocolate almond pastry I got. You’re probably sensing a theme here… Luckily he laughed it off and told me I was crazy.
So now the question remains: what to do with all the tomatoes?
Panzanella! I had half a loaf of french baguette left from the other night, so I threw together this quick salad that goes with practically everything. We actually ate it the other night with the lemon chicken kebabs and it was great. The most important thing is to use enough olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and to let it sit for at least 30 minutes before you eat it so all bread sops up the tomato juices. This salad has Italian origins– in fact, my sister, who lives in Italy with her Italian husband, made this last time I visited– and a fun name: panzanella (pronounced paants-a-nayla).
Basically this is what you do: finely dice a clove of garlic (more if you like garlic), half an onion, and some tomatoes. Combine in a large bowl and add some salt, pepper, olive oil (a generous amount, i.e. 1/4 cup at least) and basalmic vinegar (once again, a generous amount). Dice the bread into chunks approximately the same size as the tomato pieces, brush it with olive oil and toast in the oven at a high temp (i.e. 450F) for a couple of minutes just to toast it. Slice up an handful of basil leaves and add to the mixture. Add the toasted bread to the tomato mixture, stir well and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before consumption. You could also add some fresh mozzarella, if you can find some that actually has flavor and is worth the often-times exorbitant price…. My readers in Italy (Hi Massimo, Kirsten, and Gabrielle!) may not have a problem with this, or need this recipe at all, but state-side it is a dire situation, indeed. This salad has such bright, versatile flavors and I love the fact that it’s the perfect solution for left-over bread.