Heirloom Tomato Salad
Have on hand
1/2 large loaf of bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Kosher salt, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
leaves from 1 spring oregano, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, optional
1 large bunch arugula, cleaned and dried, or 1 bag baby arugula
1 pint cherry, or pear tomatoes, halved
7 medium basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup torn Italian parsley leaves
1 large heirloom tomato, cored, and sliced into small wedges
Fresh mozzarella cheese, hand torn into pieces, or sliced
Preheat oven to 400°
Using a serrated knife, remove the crust of the bread and save for making homemade bread crumbs (*). Tear the de-crusted loaf into one-inch pieces then, in a large bowl, toss with three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and a few good twists of pepper. On a sheet pan, evenly distribute the torn bread, and toast until lightly toasted but not dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the garlic, shallot, oregano, plus the vinegar(s), season lightly and allow to sit for a few minutes to mellow the flavors of the garlic. Whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil, taste, adjust to your liking (with either more vinegar or oil), and set aside. In a large bowl combine the arugula, halved tomatoes, basil, and parsley. Using your hands, gently mix in only enough dressing to lightly coat the salad. Season to taste, then serve, topped with heirloom tomato, and mozzarella, plus the delicious homemade croutons. Enjoy!
*Homemade Bread Crumbs
Using the crust from above, in a food processor, combine the crust, along with 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, a pinch of salt, a few good grinds of pepper, a tablespoon of olive oil, and pulse until a fine crumb consistency is achieved. Spread the crumbs evenly onto a sheet pan, and toast in a 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally, until evenly cooked, light brown, and dry. Allow to cool to room temperature, and store in an air-tight container.