Saturday, October 5, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Salads (Take 3) - Panzanella with Pickled Shallots, Fattoush with Heirloom Tomatoes and Olive Bread and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pomegranate-Sumac Dressing

The summer is officially over which means that heirloom tomatoes will be disappearing from the farmers' market any day now.  To be perfectly honest, the best ones are probably already gone.  Every time I walked by a farmers' market in the months of August/September with a decent heirloom tomato selection I couldn't seem to stop myself from picking up another handful (or two) of tomatoes.  At least half of the heirloom tomatoes ended up in tomato-mozzarella salads and the like, but I do occasionally feel the need to experiment a bit.  I'm currently in a bit of a panzanella phase so I keep making tomato salads with giant croutons of sorts tossed in.  I also included a variation on a fattoush in this post that we modified from a Susan Feniger recipe from her Street Food cookbook, but aside from the spices, the salad reminded me more of a panzanella because the bread was olive bread, cut into large croutons, rather than smaller pieces of crispy pita.

My favorite of these three salads was probably the panzanella.  It had the right balance of tomato and acidity with the pickled shallots.  I might take those shallots and use them in other dishes because I thought they really worked.  My second favorite was the heirloom tomato salad with pomegranate-sumac dressing.  I thought the flavor of the pomegranate-sumac dressing with the herbs and shallots on top was really nice.  My only complaint was that the sumac left it a little gritty.  And you have to like the flavor of pomegranate molasses in order for this dish to work for you.  You rarely see pomegranate molasses left to shine on its own in quite this way and the rather concentrated sweetness might throw some people.  And the sweetness of the pomegranate sweetness masks a bit of the natural sweetness of the tomatoes themselves.  As for the fattoush it was my least favorite of the three.  I really thought it was going to be amazing, but it was a little heavy and it just wasn't as vibrant and fresh as the other two salads.  The heirloom tomatoes just got a little lost.

Recipes (and more pictures) after the jump!

Panzanella with Pickled Shallots
Adapted from Bon Appetit

For tomatoes and pickled shallot:
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 lb heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 tbsp evoo
For salad:
2 cups white country bread (with crusts ), torn into large croutons
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 1/2 tbsp evoo
1 1/2 cups baby arugula

Combine shallot and vinegar in a small bowl.  Season with s&p and toss to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Season with salt and let stand 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Combine bread and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze bread pieces lightly with your hands so they will evenly absorb oil and spread out in a single layer.

Bake bread pieces, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewy in the center, 10–15 minutes. Let croutons cool slightly, then discard garlic.

Transfer 1 tbsp vinegar from shallot mixture to a large bowl (reserve remaining vinegar with shallots).  Whisking constantly, add evoo.  Whisk until emulsified.  Season dressing with s&p and more vinegar from shallot mixture, if desired.

Add tomatoes and their juices to dressing and gently toss to coat.  Add arugula and croutons to bowl with tomato mixture.  Season with s&p and toss to combine.  Drain pickled shallots.  Serve panzanella topped with pickled shallots.

Fattoush with Heirloom Tomatoes and Olive Bread
Adapted from Susan Feniger's Street Food
By Susan Feniger

4 tbsp evoo, separated
4 slices olive bread, torn into bite-size pieces
15 oz. can chickpeas
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 lb heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp harissa
2 tsp ground sumac
1 tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place bread on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 1/2 tbsp evoo. Season with s&p.  Spread bread out in a single layer.

Bake bread pieces, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewy in the center, 10–15 minutes.  Let croutons cool slightly.

Combine the chickpeas, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, eggs, feta, lemon juice, harissa, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the sumac, and the cumin in a large mixing bowl and gently toss together.  Add the bread to the salad, and toss to combine.  Season to taste with s&p.


Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pomegranate-Sumac Dressing
Available at theKitchn
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons sumac
Freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel or other flaky finishing salt
2 pounds tomatoes
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon each of fresh basil, mint, and parsley leaves

Whisk together the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sumac, and pepper, and salt to taste.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slabs. Arrange the tomatoes and shallots on a platter and drizzle with dressing. Depending on the size of the herbs, you can leave them whole or tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Scatter them on top of the tomatoes. Finish with salt.

Best eaten soon after assembling.

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