Feeling like summer is slipping away? Go to the market or run to your garden or farm stand and pick up 2 pounds of rosy plum tomatoes (organic San Marzano if you can find them) and make this salad. This recipe keeps you in the summer kind of mood regardless of the weather outside. Serve it with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio and you have summer on a plate.
The croutons are key; crispy, savory, and chewy bread goodness. Make them yourself from a loaf of crusty bread – the salad just won’t taste the same if you use pre-made croutons. They take minutes to make and homemade are sooooo much better. You’ll have a hard time not noshing through them before they get tossed with the salad. I probably ate about a cup of them before tossing them in the salad.
- 2# organic plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped
- ½ red onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
- 6C garlic croutons – (¾ of a French boule, ¼C EVOO, 1tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ¼C EVOO
- sea salt and pepper
- Optional Garnish: Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
Directions for croutons: Preheat oven to 375°.
Slice ¾ of a crusty boule into rough ½” cubes (about 6 cups). Place the bread cubes into a very large bowl and drizzle with the EVOO, tossing as you drizzle so that the bread chunks don’t become soggy, but get evenly coated in olive oil. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the bread and toss a couple times. Grind some sea salt and pepper over the top and give it one last toss. Spread the bread chunks evenly onto a shallow cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned, tossing the croutons about midway through baking. Remove from the oven to cool. Set aside while you make the salad.
Directions for the salad: In a large serving bowl, combine the chopped plum tomatoes, red onion, basil, ¼C EVOO, and lemon juice. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss the ingredients. Add the croutons and toss the salad again, making sure the lemon dressing coats all the ingredients.
Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese if you like. Serve and eat immediately.