The Recipe: Aiiiii, summer tomatoes. When they're the very ripest, the very juiciest, the deepest color, it's the classic Italian tomato salad called Panzanella that moves my summer table to silence. What a salad, what a meal.
Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.
~Recipe updated & republished 2015 for a little weekend cooking inspiration~
A small town may be better measured by the stamp of its spirit than the size of its population or the span of its geography.
There’s a small-town substance to this place we call home. It’s true for St Louis itself but especially the neighborhoods that readers of this paper know best, the ones of old trees and new cafés, strong schools and smart kids, low fences and good neighbors. (Does one begat the other?)
There’s the noon’n’six hymns from the bell tower at First Pres. And the prime-corner real estate of budding entrepreneurs who operate summer’s lemonade stands. And morning walkers who’d be strangers except that we know each others’ dogs by name. And a hush on holiday mornings, especially when flags ripple in remembrance. And the haunting horn of the train that rumbles through on Sundays around bedtime. And a familiar name in an obituary, the neighbor’s cousin, wasn’t he?, the one whose sister moved away but came back to raise her family and whose brother’s grandchildren are in Little League, now, with yours?
This is Kitchen Parade’s debut in the Webster-Kirkwood Times and the South County Times but my mom started the column for a small-town newspaper way back in 1959.
I hope that it fast becomes a turn-to corner of this newspaper for both new and experienced cooks, one that feels like sharing a coffee (and a recipe!) over the kitchen table with an old friend.
(CLASSIC ITALIAN TOMATO SALAD)
Time-to-table: 15 minutes
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 slices hearty bread
- 4 perfectly ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 a red onion, diced fine
- 1/2 a cucumber, diced fine
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons capers
- Grilled bread, torn into pieces
- About 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- About 2 tablespoons olive oil
- To taste, salt
- To taste, freshly ground pepper
Rub the garlic clove on the bread, then grill or broil both sides until lightly toasted.
Core and dice the tomatoes. (Optional: If the tomatoes' skins are unappealing, it takes only a few extra minutes to "blanch" tomatoes. Just drop them into boiling water for a minute, then rinse under cold water until the skins peel off easily with a knife. For "all meat" tomatoes, cut them in half, then remove and discard the seeds with a small spoon. Chop the remaining tomato meat.)
Combine the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, basil, garlic and capers in a large serving bowl. (Stop here if making in advance.)
Just before serving, stir in the bread pieces, letting them soak up the tomato juice for a minute. Splash with the vinegar and olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Best served right away, it can be a meal in itself!
LEFTOVERS But here's a way to use up any leftovers – or reason to make extra! Just remove the bread, then toss what remains with hot pasta and some good grated parmesan. Even my dad, who's not all that keen on pasta, says, "This is a really refreshing way to eat pasta." I love it too!
For Summer's Very Best Tomatoes
from Kitchen Parade
Twelve Favorite Tomato Recipes ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog
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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2015 (repub)