This gorgeous Tomato and Bread Salad is a lot more than it seems, it’s zesty and tangy, full of textures, and bright, bold flavors. It’s a great way to celebrate summer flavors, and I’m sorry for being so behind and posting this in the middle of Fall, but there’s still tomatoes around! If anything, save this for next year, because you’ll definitely want to make it.
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Simple book – a fantastic book by the way, highly reccomend! – it’s got those wonderful classic Ottolenghi twists, like the addition of both capers and anchovies, making the croutons extra flavorful. For this version, I add my beloved basil olive oil – you can find the recipe here – it adds a gorgeous vibrant green color and another layer of fresh flavors.
This salad is perfect for a Mediterranean inspired dinner – it makes a great side dish! Assemble and add the toasted bread and fresh basil right before serving, so they still fresh and crunchy.
For a vegetarian/ vegan version, just omit the anchovies. It might seem like a lot of anchovies, but as they melt and dissolve into the olive oil and get tossed into the bread, you get just a faint taste that compliments all the other bold flavors so well. Add basil olive oil and lemon to taste, tasting and adjusting as you go.
Tomato and Bread Salad
4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, drained
6 tbsp olive oil
flaky sea salt
4 oz/ 100g sourdough, crusts left on, sliced into 1 inch/ 2.5 cm thick chunks
red pepper flakes
1 lb/ 500g ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch/ 2.5cm chunks
1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
basil olive oil
Add the olive oil, chopped garlic, anchovies, flaky salt, and red pepper flakes to a skillet or medium saucepan over low heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and anchovies have soften. Mash them with the back of a wooden spoon. Make sure not to heat the oil too much so the garlic doesn't burn. If you see the garlic starting to burn, remove pan from heat until it cools.
Add the sliced bread, tossing until well coated. Cook until bread is toasted and crisp, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally, so both sides toast evenly. Transfer to a separate bowl.
In a large bowl, add the chopped tomatoes, lemon zest, capers, parsley, and basil. Mix to combine. Add lemon juice and basil olive oil to taste.
When ready to serve, add the tomatoes mixtures to serving bowl. Add the bread, drizzle with more basil olive oil and garnish with fresh basil leaves.