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Heirloom Tomato and Bread Salad

Mariel here. A LOT of eating happened this weekend. My mom came out to our family house in Long Island loaded up with fried chicken, mac salad and deviled eggs galore. Not usually one to chow down on fatty foods, I threw caution to the wind and indulged.  And indulged.

Today, I’m paying the price. I feel huge. In an effort to get back on track, I threw together a tomato salad for lunch. It might just be the easiest recipe ever, but when tomatoes are in season, nothing is tastier. The below recipe makes one massive portion or two more respectable servings (four if served as a side dish). If you have fresh mozzarella on hand or prosciutto, they both make great additions.

Heirloom Tomato and Bread Salad
2 entree-size portions, 4 appetizer-size portions

2 large, ripe tomatoes (red and yellow Heirlooms were on-sale at my g-store, but Jerseys, Beefsteaks and ripe Plum tomatoes work well too) – $3.59
1/4 sweet vidalia onion, chopped coarsely – $0.45
1 heaping Tablespoon of fresh basil finely chopped (dry basil is OK too, use about a teaspoon of dried) – $1.99
1/4 cup parmesan reggiano – $4.99
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar – from stock
1/8 cup olive oil – from stock
2 teaspoons dijon mustard – from stock
2 teaspoons brown sugar – from stock
4 slices of whole wheat boule bread or a comparable crusty bakery bread: $2.99
Salt and pepper to taste
Grand total assuming stocked pantry: $14.01
Cost per serving (assuming two big main dish-sized servings): $7.01

1. Cut tomatoes into 1-inch cubes or slices. Coarsely chop the onion and finely chop the basil (if using fresh basil). Combine onion, tomatoes and basil in a bowl.

2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard and brown sugar in a small sealable container. Seal and shake vigorously.

3. Pour 1/2 of the dressing on the tomato mixture and toss gently.

4. Lightly coat both sides of the bread with the other 1/2 of the dressing. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes.

5. Place bread on a baking sheet and pop into the broiler for approx 2-3 minutes. Check the bread to make sure it’s not burning – every broiler is a little different. Once golden brown, remove the bread from the oven and flip to brown the other side.

6. Once both sides are golden brown, place bread on a plate and assemble the tomato mixture on top. Sprinkle with parmesan reggiano and serve.