This traditional Italian salad of bread, basil and tomato is a great way to enjoy yesterday’s bread today.
6 thick slices Tuscan, French or levain bread (any very crusty, dense bread)
½ cup best-quality olive oil plus 3 tablespoons extra
2 small red onions, sliced into thin rings
1 large green bell pepper, diced into bite-sized pieces (about 1 inch square)
4 medium/large freshly ripe tomatoes (these are the star of this show), chunked
½ cup thickly shredded Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese
12 black olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers, drained
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste (remember that capers and olives are salty)
Heat toaster or regular oven to 400°F.
Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow bowl. Cut bread into bite-sized chunks and soak in the oil. Toast the bread at 400° for 5 minutes, or until crunchy and browned.
Put toasted bread into a large serving bowl.
Add the onion rings, chunked tomatoes and diced pepper. Add cheese, olives, capers and herbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, salt, vinegar and olive oil to make a dressing. Pour on the dressing and blend everything. Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
. . .
Greek Zucchini Fritters (Kolokithokeftedes)
These can be oven baked instead of fried and served warm or at room temperature. They make good finger food—and are a great way to use those extra-large zucchini.
Makes about 24 fritters
2½ pounds zucchini, grated
1 red onion, grated
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2–3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1½ cups feta cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups fine breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Oil for cooking (some to grease the baking sheet and about 1 tablespoon to use with a pastry brush)
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Generously oil the bottom of a baking tray or two. (The heat of the oil will make the baked fritters seem fried.)
Use a grater to grate the zucchini and place in a colander with some salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then squeeze with your hands to get rid of excess water. Put in a large bowl.
Add the other ingredients and mix well with your hands until combined and the mixture is firm enough to make patties. Add breadcrumbs if needed.
Form thin 2-inch round or oval patties with your hands. Place each on the oiled baking tray as you go then brush the tops lightly with olive oil.
Bake for 10–12 minutes, then flip with a spatula and bake another 10–12 minutes, until all patties are nicely brown. Serve hot or at room temperature with fresh cold yogurt, raita or tzatziki.
. . .
Southwestern Corn Tart (gluten free)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus ½ tablespoon for pan
¼ cup sunflower seeds
6 ears fresh corn (2½ cups kernels)
½ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350°F.
Butter a 10-inch pie plate with ½ tablespoon unsalted butter. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds over the bottom.
Purée 1½ cups of corn kernels with the cream in a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the corn and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or in a mixer, cream the 6 tablespoons softened butter and the sugar. Add egg yolks 1 by 1, beating to blend. Beat in the chili powder, salt, rum, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in the corn mixture and the remaining sunflower seeds.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold the corn mix into this carefully so as not to deflate them. Pour everything into the buttered pie pan and level the top.
Bake 35 minutes, until the tart is brown and puffed. Cool 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with maple syrup and sour cream or crème fraîche.