I saw this recipe on smitten kitchen and loved that I would have an excuse to buy a new basil plant. Honestly, a packet of fresh basil is like $2.99, the basil plant is $3.99. We’d use a few leaves of the packet and the rest would go bad, OR, we could keep the plant alive for at least a few weeks and get a couple uses out of it. Last time we bought a plant it somehow managed to survive for 6 months. Pretty sure that was a fluke, we shall see how long this one survives.
So the salad! This tomato salad was delicious – but of course I didn’t follow it exactly per SK’s instructions. Not because I didn’t want to, I just never have all the right ingredients even when I plan ahead. You can check out the original recipe if you want, below is what I ended up doing (with a little slicing help from zp).
- 3 – 4 slices Arnold Oat Nut bread, or whatever you have on hand (the heels if you can spare ’em)
- 2 Tbls minced onion (because I couldn’t be bothered to buy shallots)
- 1 – 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (I used 3 but they were small)
- 2 Tbls olive oil
- 2 Tbls grated parmesan
- Freshly ground pepper and sea salt (called for 1/4 tsp salt, no idea how much I ended up with)
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes (multi-color if you can find them; I couldn’t)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ~2/3 Tbls balsamic vinegar
- ~capful white vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (eyeball to your liking)
- a couple squeezes of Real Lemon
- ~1/4 tsp dry mustard
Plus a handful of basil leaves, slivered
To prepare bread crumbs: Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, tear bread into various sized ragged chunks. Add minced onion, garlic, parmesan, pepper, salt and olive oil, and toss until all the bread bits are coated in oil. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned and dry, about 10 minutes, stirring at least once halfway through. Remove from oven and cool completely.
To prepare salad: Whisk together the oil, vinegar and seasonings in a small bowl.* SK wants you to halve each tomato and arrange cut side up on a platter, drizzle dressing and sprinkle on the croutons and basil. Very nice for pretty pictures, not exactly feasible if you plan to transport this salad to a party or something.
I put mine in a (very pretty wedding gift) bowl, tossed with dressing and topped with croutons and then basil (if you transport, you’ll want to keep the croutons separate and assemble right before serving). I had extra croutons and have been eating it on other salads, it’s changing my life.
*My ingredients are very approximate because I didn’t have the right kind of vinegar for the SK recipe, so I just sort of threw a bunch of crap in there and it turned out well. Follow SK or improvise away!