I just finished reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, and I highly recommend it. I have found his observations about life in Paris so validating. Apparently it was not just my paranoid imagination — people really were playing chicken with me on the narrow sidewalks while simultaneously judging my wardrobe. In addition to his witty and astute observations, this book contains several wonderful recipes which I can’t wait to try.
Our first three tomatoes of the season just turned red, so any recipe with the word tomato in it immediately catches my eye these days. Believe it or not, I have never made a panzanella (bread salad) before, probably because I’m not that keen on soggy bread. But for some reason, this recipe appealed to me yesterday, and I’m glad I went with my instincts. This salad was so flavorful and light, yet filling enough to stand alone for dinner on a hot summer night.
Salade De Tomates Au Pain Au Levain
Tomato and Sourdough Bread Salad
from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
4 cups roughly torn 1-inch pieces of sourdough bread
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
6 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
8 medium tomatoes
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded (as you can see, I thinly sliced)
3/4 cup pitted black olives (the author prefers kalamata olives)
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 packed cup mixed coarsely chopped fresh basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and toast until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice as they’re toasting. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, salt, pepper to taste, garlic, vinegar and olive oil.
3. Remove the stems from the tomatoes, slice in half and squeeze out the juice. Cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut them into 1-inch pieces. Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch pieces.
4. Add the tomatoes and cucumber to the bowl with the dressing. Mix in the olives, onion, herbs and bread pieces and toss well. Taste and add more salt, oil and vinegar to your liking.
5. Crumble the feta over the top in large chunks and toss briefly. Let stand 1-2 hours before serving.