Boating on the San Francisco Bay
It's Tomato Season Start Day
Sam's new season Tomato Panzanella salad against a backdrop of Angel Island and the San Francisco Bay
For more than six months of the year I don't eat tomatoes. I don't buy them fresh, I usually don't even buy them canned. If a restaurant sends me a winter or spring-time salad garnished with a slice of the red fruit, I just push it to one side and ignore it. When early tomatoes creep their way into the local farmers markets, I turn and look the other way, knowing that I need to hold out just a little bit longer.
Yesterday, woken prematurely at 4am by the early rising sun, and the promise of perfect, balmy, very non-San Francisco weather day ahead, I suddenly decided it must, surely, by now, be safe to eat tomatoes. I was at the market by 7.40 am. Fresh basil, beautiful deep red heirloom tomatoes, spring garlics, ripe avocado, fresh mozarella and young onions were soon filling my basket.
Lucky us, a friend of ours has a brand spanking new power boat. Whenever he invites us for a day out on the Bay, (he used to have a yacht), I always make sure to take something delicious for lunch. What could be better to mark the start of my personal Tomato Season than a Panzanella salad? I completely made up this salad as I was going along without consulting any books or researching panzanella traditions, so the result is far from authentic. But since the recipe was enthusiastically requested by my gracious hosts, I can only assume that they think sharing it might be worth my effort. It's totally easy, it can be knocked up in a few minutes. Just the thing for when you want to get out of the kitchen quickly into the rare sun...
Recipe for Sam's Tomato Panzanella Salad
1 loaf stale white artisanal bread
1 spring garlic (equivalent size one one fat garlc clove), minced.
1/4 cup of oil
salt and pepper
2 large, ripe, heirloom tomatoes
1 ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
1 small purple torpedo onion, finely sliced
1 fresh buffalo mozarella, thinly sliced
1 handful fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup oil
salt and pepper
-preheat the oven to 350F
-Remove crusts from bread and discard.
-Tear or cut the bread into bite size chunks and put in a bowl
-Add 1.4 cup of olive oil, half of the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
-Mix the bread with the oil mixture using your hands until all the bread is coated.
-Transfer the bread to a baking sheet and bake until crispy and golden (about 10 minutes). Toss the bread about half way through the cooking time to ensure even colouring. Remove and leave to cool.
-Slice tomatoes and put in a bowl to one side with onion and remaining garlic. Season with salt and pepper
-To make the dressing whisk together the vinegars and 1/2 cup olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Just before serving, mix together the bread, avocado, mozzarella with the dressing. Leave for five minutes to soak up the dressing before introducing the tomato mixture and then serve immediately.
Note: If you are taking this salad on a picnic, transport the various elements separately in your cooler and combine together at the very last minute.
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Sweet & Savory were my Bay Area Bloggers of the week|