Growing up, I always hated tomatoes. As I got a bit older, I could handle one in a sandwhich or a salad but was never one to eat one like an apple. Then, I discovered heirlooms. They are gorgeous in color, funky in shape and it might just be in my head, but they are sweeter and lighter than your standard red tomato. I found this recipe for a tomato salad using heirlooms and chunky, seasoned croutons and just had to try it. I made it for a family bbq and it was a hit!
Tomato Salad with Cheese Crisps
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of mixed heirlooms which can be quite expensive so I recommend going to your local farmer's market (if you're in SoCal, check out the one in Laguna Beach, it's my favorite). I didn't plan on making this salad until late in the evening, so I just had to run to the store and I picked up the small, cherry size heirlooms, which were less expensive and just as easy to work with.
These toasty treats were deliciously paired with the juiciness of the tomatoes
All mixed up and ready to eat
Parmesan cheese clustered and ready to bake
Parmesan cheese crisps hot out of the oven.
I had some issues with these guys... with some of them I think I went a little heavy on the parmesan. I found it's best to spread the cheese thin before baking and they will crisp better. Also, be sure your cookie sheet is either non-stick, well greased or use a Silpat to help with the sticking. I had trouble getting some of the crisps off the sheet. Other than that, they are quite tasty!
Here is the "How To" -
*Active: 30 min*Total: 40 min*Serves 4*
4 thick slices Italian bread, cut into cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 pounds mixed heirlooms tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
2. Whisk the mustard, lemon juice and vinegar in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the tomatoes, scallions and dill and season with salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat. Set aside while you make the crisps.
3. Toss the cheese with the flour and pepper to taste in a bowl. Arrange the mixture in 4 mounds on the baking sheet slightly. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove with a spatula to a rack and let cool. Serve with the tomato salad.