Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Salad Smackdown: When God Gives You Tomatoes…

Most Portland gardeners are just starting to get some tomatoes, and contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood has perfectly captured our anticipation.

I finally ate a few Sungolds (the perfect cherry tomato) from my garden last week. My other tomatoes are still green, but that first taste filled me with anticipation of more to come. All this heat is good for some things, after all.

If you’re firing up the grill to avoid any additional heat in the kitchen, be sure to toast some bread over the coals after they’ve cooled down a little. I usually do bread last, when whatever else I’m cooking over fire has been moved to the indirect heat section of he Weber. You have to watch it closely though, since it can go from lightly browned to burnt in a couple of seconds. Take a few slices and, with some good tomatoes, make this simple bread salad.


I use whole wheat levain from New Seasons for this; Grand Central campagnolo or Ken’s country brown would also be good. Rub several slices of grilled or toasted bread on both sides with a whole, peeled clove of garlic. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Chop 4-5 tomatoes into similar chunks. Combine with the bread, then tear the leaves from a bunch of basil and add them. Toss with about a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon or so of Katz Late Harvest Zinfandel vinegar, and a healthy pinch of flor de sal. Taste, tweak the oil, vinegar, or salt if necessary, and let sit for 15 minutes or so before serving.

You can find Jim and his supply of imported salts, Italian olive oils, Katz vinegars and assorted dry goods most Mondays from 5 to 7 pm at Activespace, 833 SE Main #122 (ground floor, NE corner of bldg.).

More salads in the Smackdown: Kale Salad with Anchovies, Olives and Lemon.

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