Tomato & Grilled Bread Salad With Burrata
Cooking With Friends
For me, there is nothing more fun than getting together with friends and cooking up some great food. I recently spent a long weekend with girl friends in Sun Valley, Idaho. We had the good fortune to cook with Marsha Smart, an accomplished cook, cooking instructor and food writer who is in the process of launching her blog Smart In The Kitchen.
A Genius Salt And Pepper Trick
We spent an afternoon cooking a variety of recipes Marsha brought. One was for a recipe she had adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe for Grilled Panzanella. I am not one to follow a recipe exactly, and the pesto sauce had some finicky steps that required straining the sauce, so I quickly reworked the pesto sauce to make it quick and easy and made a few additional adjustments, including the addition of some burrata cheese. Burrata is like bacon; everything is better with burrata.
The one thing that I thought was genius about this recipe was the way the bread was prepared. It is a simple trick, but it makes all the difference in the world. The bread is brushed with olive oil and then generously seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper before grilling. I can't tell you what a difference that salt and pepper makes.
Cowboy Garlic Bread
After the bread is grilled rub the bread with a peeled garlic clove, a method I have been using forever to make what I call "Cowboy garlic bread." Cowboy bread is a great alternative to garlic bread. You get all the flavor with none of the butter. When you add a generous salt and peppering to this grilled cowboy garlic bread, magic happens.
I Love Cooking For Appreciative Eaters
Marsha's two young daughters joined us to help prepare the meal. I was so impressed. Marsha has clearly educated her kids about good food. These two darling young ladies LOVED this tomato salad and they particularly loved the grilled bread. At one point a caught the younger sister preparing a piece for her sister by slathering pesto sauce on both the top and the bottom of the grilled toast! There is nothing more satisfying than a youngster digging into a healthy dish with gusto. These two girls made our efforts in the kitchen all the more than worthwhile and enjoyable.
The Moral Of The Story
The moral of the story is to get your kids into the kitchen early. Once they experience cooking for themselves they will learn to appreciate good, nutritious food. And consuming good nutritious food will translate to better lifelong health. Sure there will be some cookies and cakes in the mix, but there is nothing like learning to cook to make you appreciate quality food.
Tomato and grilled bread salad with burrata
A quick and delicious salad for those times when you have great tomatoes. Add a little burrata cheese and don't plan on any leftovers.
- 1 shallot, peeled and chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 generous handfuls of basil leaves
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup of olive oil, divided
- 1 12-ounce loaf of sourdough bread, cut into 1/2" slices
- 3 pounds mixed tomatoes: heirlooms and cherry tomatoes in assorted colors
- 1/2 pound burrata cheese
- In a food processor finely mince the shallot and 1 clove of garlic. Add basil, lemon zest, lemon juice and whirl until finely minced. Slowly add 2/3 cup of olive oil through the feeder tube until an emulsion is created. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan to high. Brush bread slices with remaining olive oil and generously season both sides of the bread slices with salt and pepper. Grill the bread on both sides until brown and crunchy. Remove bread from pan and immediately rub both sides of each bread slice with a garlic clove. Cut or tear the grilled bread into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- While bread is grilling cut tomatoes into slices and distribute over a large flat platter or bowl. Slice the burrata into wedges and distribute amongst the tomatoes. Arrange the grilled bread around the edge of the platter and drizzle the basil sauce over the tomatoes and bread. Serve with extra basil sauce.
Cuisine Italian, New American