Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tomato cucumber salad

This is my all time FAVORITE salad to make in the summer (#obsessed), I'm actually upset I didnt have many cucumbers till now so I can keep a container of it in the fridge at all times.  I have this thing about buying veggies from the store when I know I will have some coming up in the garden...can't do it.  So I wait.  And wait.  And wait.  But now the waiting is over and I won't be without my salad for a few weeks at least!

Mama K made this for me last summer when they came for the RAGBRAI reunion ride and we grilled at our place afterward.  I was in love. I am a vinegar freak, love the acidity of it especially when it cuts with the olive oil.  I do this a little different than the recipe calls for, I don't think its supposed to be literally doused in the dressing like I do it, but that's the joy of being the one who makes it how you like it!  Here is the original recipe:
  • 1/2 pound country bread, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat grill to medium. Brush bread slices on both sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill until lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into large cubes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and serve.
Here's my recipe:
I don't grill the bread, and I just cut a hard baguette into bitesized pieces to throw into the salad. I use equal parts olive oil and red wine vinegar...more like 3/4-1 cup of each. I don't add the breadcrumbs to the salad until about 10 minutes before serving so they are soaked in all the goodness but not soggy and gucky. I used roma tomatoes this time because it's all I had.  I also added 3 minced garlic cloves to the mix before stirring it all together to mix. And it turned out greeeeaaat.  Like I would drink the oil and vinegar if it was socially acceptable. 

This is also one of those things that is better each day after it's been sitting so the veggies can marinate in the love for as long as possible.  Oh my, my mouth is watering heavily just looking at this picture! So colorful and sooooo vinegary!  Oh and some of the cucumbers have yellow skin, I'm not quite sure why this happens but I think it's the ones who overgrow (like I don't get them off the vine in time when they are ripe), but they taste the same and add even more color so whatev.

By the way, the zucchini flood of 2011 is over but we are now being overrun with cucumbers...anyone have any good recipes for cucumbers to share?  Besides pickles, I just canned 16 pints of pickles this weekend, that's more than enough for the year! OK, GO!

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