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Tomato & Bread Salad

No recipe image available.This recipe for panzanella, as it is known in Italy, comes from Hiro Sone, the very talented chef/owner of the restaurant, Terra, in St. Helena, California. Hiro's is, hands down, the best version of this Italian classic we know.

Recipe Ingredients:

1/2 small baguette (about 12 inches long)
1 large garlic clove, mashed
Olive oil for brushing
6 medium to large ripe California tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1/2 medium onion chopped
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC).
  2. Split the baguette lengthwise. Rub the cut side of one half very well with the mashed garlic. Brush liberally with olive oil. Cut the garlicked half in half again lengthwise, and then cut these strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Place the croutons on a baking sheet, crust side down. Bake 30 minutes, until dark golden.
  3. If croutons are made in advance, put the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl a bit before you intend to mix the salad, then drain off and discard any juice that may accumulate.
  4. To serve, add the croutons, onion, and basil to the tomatoes. Whisk the vinegar and oil for the vinaigrette. Pour over all and toss.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe provided courtesy of the California Tomato Commission.