Heirloom Panzanilla with basil vinaigrette
With the abundance of ripe and delicious tomatoes out now we use them every day in some form: salads, sauces, jams, gazpacho, tarts and more. We haven’t tired of them yet and by the time we do, it will be the end of their season and we will move on to something else. This is the beautify of eating seasonal food, before you have had your fill, they are gone.
Since for me a meal without bread is not a meal I stick it everywhere possible and thankfully panzanilla is a dish that calls for bread so it’s one of my favourites. Traditional panzanilla is made with day old bread so it can soak up the juices from the tomatoes and the dressing but I decided to toss a few bread pieces in a skillet with olive oil for a little extra flavour and a crispier texture. You can skip this step if you’d like.
Another break with tradition is the basil sauce. Usually you would just drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. i did that, but spooned basil vinaigrette on the plate before piling the tomatoes on top. I love this vinaigrette and it adds to the salad.
A friend told me that in Iceland, were we will be in a few short weeks at the end of a trip to the Baltic, there is a beautiful large greenhouse in Friðheimar where they grow tomatoes. The on site restaurant only has a few dishes on the menu but apparently the flavours are delicious. Who ever thought of tomatoes in Iceland? I am looking forward to try them there.
Enjoy the tomatoes that are available in your markets, they often don’t need much more than a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
3-4 tomatoes, heirloom or other ripe tomatoes
A handful of basil leaves, some torn, some left whole for garnish
Coarse sea salt, maldon slat or fleur de sel
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse sea slat
A few slices bread cut into pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon pine nuts
salt and pepper
Cut the tomatoes into chunks and place in a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, add bread pieces and cook until they turn golden.
Add bread to the tomatoes and mix gently, keeping a few pieces of bread for garnish on top.
Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor and process until combined.
Spoon some of the dressing on the bottom of a plate, top with the tomatoes and bread, garnish with basil leaves.
Drizzle a finishing olive oil (good quality oil you wouldn’t heat up) over and serve.