If summer’s end has left you with a bushel or two of ripe tomatoes and no clue what to do with them, you’re in luck. This tried-and-true, ace-in-the-hole Tomato Bread Salad recipe is the surest way to please dinner guests while putting your bounty to good use. I’ve been wowing people with this fresh and comforting dish ever since chef Isaac Becker of 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa shared it with Minnesota Monthly readers in the July 2007 issue. I prefer it straight up, but you should feel free to toss in any other veggies or herbs that floweth over in your garden. Whatever you do, please don’t skip the garlic clove rub. It adds a complexity and earthiness that makes the most amateur cook look like a top chef.
1/2 baguette, sliced lengthwise
1 garlic clove, cut in half
3 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced into large pieces
1/2 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
basil leaves (about a handful), torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grill baguette slices until golden brown and branded with grill marks. Remove bread from heat and rub with cut side of garlic clove. Break bread slices into large croutons. Toss bread with tomato, onion, basil, vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.