Juicy Tomatoes With Parmesan-Olive Bread Crumbs
This mouthwatering salad of ripe, juicy tomatoes is dressed with a quick, vinegary dressing and finished with cheesy, garlicky bread crumbs, which bring pizza flavors to this summery dish. The tomatoes are salted for seasoning, but also to make their sweet juices pool out, creating a saucy base. Made with a combination of Parmesan, olives, garlic, spices and citrus zest, the bread crumbs can be prepared one week in advance. (Store in an airtight container and “refresh” them by warming them in the oven or on a stove-top until crisp and fragrant. Make extra to go on caramelized zucchini pasta or even lemony shrimp and white bean stew) Serve the tomatoes as a grand appetizer or as a light supper with grilled chicken or steak.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds ripe tomatoes (such as a mix of cherry, campari and heirloom varieties)
- Salt and black pepper
- 5ounces day-old country-style bread without crust
- 1 ½ounces thinly shaved or coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 3ounces pitted green olives (such as Castelvetrano, picholine or Cerignola), roughly chopped
- 2teaspoons finely grated orange or lemon zest (or a combination)
- 1teaspoon fennel seeds or red-pepper flakes (or a combination)
- 2garlic cloves
- 6tablespoons olive oil
- 4tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
Step 1Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Slice larger tomatoes into ½-inch rounds or wedges, and cut smaller tomatoes in half and spread out on a serving platter or individual plates. Season them generously with salt and also black pepper, if you’d like.
Step 2Tear the bread into small pieces, about 1-inch, then pulse in a food processor until you have coarse crumbs.
Step 3In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, olives, zest, fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes, if using. Finely grate the garlic into the bowl then add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss everything together very well.
Step 4Transfer the bread-crumb mixture to a sheet pan and place on a middle rack in the oven. Toast, stirring two or three times, until the crumbs are golden brown, the olives have shriveled slightly and your kitchen starts to smell a little like a pizzeria, 17 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely.
Step 5To serve, drizzle the tomatoes with vinegar followed by the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Just before you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.