Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food Challenge Day 4 - Tomato Panzanella

This 4th-day recipe was the one about which I was most nervous. I've never made a dish that consisted of just tomatoes and croutons, and I was skeptical. I made it as a side dish for a friend's backyard crab party and it ended up being a perfect light addition to the meal. I will no longer doubt such recipes! The simple ingredients combined perfectly in a manner that allowed the delicate flavors to stand out.

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta

1/2 lb slightly-stale bread, in bite-size pieces
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
15 oz ricotta (I used part-skim)

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread bread in a single layer onto a baking sheet and bake until dry and golden-brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, onion, vinegar, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the toasted bread and basil; toss to combine. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine well.

Serve topped with a dollop of ricotta and a drizzle of olive oil. Almost too easy.

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