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The classic caprese salad — tomatoes paired with fresh mozzarella and torn, peppery basil leaves — is such a delicious blast of summer.
But having been there and eaten that so many times, this tomato season we decided to dream up two fresh takes on the tomato salad — an all-American version of the caprese and a grill-friendly take on another Italian staple, the panzanella (bread and tomato salad).
GRILLED BREAD AND TOMATO SALAD
Recipe from AP Food Editor J.M. Hirsch. Serves 6.
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 loaf (about 19 ounces) sourdough bread, cut or torn into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup baby arugula
Heat a grill to medium-high.
Place the tomatoes on a large sheet of heavy duty foil. Drizzle them with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold up the edges of the foil to create a packet, then set on the grill. Drizzle the onion slices with oil, then add those to the grill. Grill, covered, for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Carefully turn the onions once or twice during cooking.
Once the tomatoes and onions are done, remove from the grill and set aside. Leave the foil packet wrapped shut. Leave the grill on.
Place the bread in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder and smoked paprika. Toss well to coat, then use tongs to place the bread on the grill. Cook, turning the bread pieces often, until lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Return the bread to the bowl. Add the Parmesan and toss well until melted. Add the garlic and lemon zest and lime zest, then toss again.
Divide the bread mixture between 6 serving plates. Open the foil packet of tomatoes and spoon some of the mixture and their juices over each plate. Divide the onions between the plates. Drizzle each serving with a bit of the lemon and lime juice and top with basil and arugula. Season with salt and pepper.
AMERICAN TOMATO SALAD
Recipe by Alison Ladman. Serves 4.
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 ounces Humboldt Fog or Maytag Blue cheese, sliced or crumbled
1 cup torn mixed soft herbs (such as chives, basil, cilantro and parsley)
Flaked sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, vinegar and mustard.
On a platter, arrange the tomato slices. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the tomatoes, then top with the cheese and herbs. Sprinkle with the sea salt and black pepper.