Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Serves  6
Heirloom Tomato Panzanella
2 # ripe heirloom tomatoes of various colors, cored, then sliced into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, finely diced, soaked in cool water for 15 minutes then drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 Tbl chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tsp plus 1 tsp finely minced garlic, divided
2 Tbl plus 2 Tbl red wine vinegar, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 stick butter
6 cups cubed French bread (1/2-inch cubes)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 oz chunk Parmesan, sliced into ribbons with
     a vegetable peeler
about 2 cups baby arugula, long stems trimmed
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes with the diced onions, basil, tarragon, 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 Tbl red wine vinegar and olive oil.  Toss to combine, then set aside.
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat, then add the remaining 1 tsp minced garlic and cook for about 1 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly golden and fragrant.  Add the remaining 2 Tbl red wine vinegar and swirl to combine. 
Place the cubed bread in another large mixing bowl.  Drizzle the garlic-butter-vinegar mixture over the bread cubes, then sprinkle with grated Parmesan.  Season with salt & pepper, the toss well to combine.  Arrange the bread cubes evenly in one layer over a baking sheet.  Bake, stirring a time or two, until the bread is golden brown and crisp on the outside but still soft on the inside, about 10 minutes or so. 
Combine the toasted bread cubes and the tomato mixture in a large mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Arrange the arugula over the base of a serving platter, then arrange the tomato-bread mixture over the arugula.  Garnish with the Parmesan ribbons.  Serve immediately.