I was given a nice bunch of really tasty looking cherry tomatoes the other day, baby plums to be exact and I knew just what I wanted to make with them! It's not really salad season at the moment, but I really fancied a salad. I thought to make a heartier type of salad though, heartier than the usual salad leaves and cucumber/radish combinations. A meal type of salad . . .
I wanted something robust enough to keep Todd happy, and yet salady enough to fool me into thinking I was eating healthy.
I also had a ciabatta loaf that I needed to use. Not quite at it's best, but not at it's worse either.
The best way to bring a tired old loaf back to life is to heat it, or grill it. By slicing the ciabatta into thick slices and brushing them with some olive oil, a light sprinkle of salt and and then grilling it, I brought a tired ciabatta deliciously into the present. Oh my . . . I could have eaten this all on it's own. Especially after I rubbed some tasty raw garlic over it's golden surface.
Grilling it gave the bread some tasty looking toasty grill marks. The olive oil, a wonderful depth of richness, nicer even than butter. The salt and garlic made it just perfectly tasty all round.
Cut into cubes and tossed with the ripe tomatoes, some basil and some cheese, and then dressed with a red wine vinegar dressing, this went down a real treat!
Kinda like pizza in the raw . . . but shhh . . . don't tell Todd. He's not overly fond of Pizza, but he thought this was deliciously different.
To quote him . . . "It made a nice change." I'd happily call that a great result!!
*Grilled Bread Salad with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes*
Toasty bread, tossed together with cherry tomatoes, basil, and mini mozarella cheeses in a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. So delicious!
1 medium ciabatta loaf, sliced lengthwise into
1 inch thick slices (about 1/2 pound)
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup), plus
extra for oiling the grill pan
fine sea salt
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and halved
1 pint of cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
(I keep mine on the counter, where they ripen really nicely)
8 spring onions, trimed and thinly sliced (both the white and green parts)
12 large fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
2 ounces good quality red wine vinegar (1/4 cup)
8 ounces fresh mini mozzarella's
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a heavy grill pan over medium high heat. Brush with oil. Lightly brush the bread on both sides with some of the olive oil, and season lightly with salt. Place into the heated grill pan and cook until it gets nicely browned, and gets some good grill marks all over. Turn over and grill the other side. Remove from the pan and rub all over on both sides with the cut side of the garlic. Discard the garlic when done. Set the bread aside to cool.
Place the halved tomatoes into a large shallow bowl along with the spring onion and basil. Cut or tear the bread into one inch cubes. Add to the bowl along with the tomatoes. Whisk the remaining oil together with the vinegar. Sprinkle over the bread mixture and toss together well. Let sit for a time at room temperature before serving. (Can allow to sit for up to 2 hours) Just before serving add the mini cheeses and season all with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.