Do you ever feel like you need a weekend from your weekend? This was one of those weekends... I always have the greatest of intentions of blogging about all the wonderful weekend food I am stuffing my face with; however they get so full I don't have time to even relax it seems like! This was no different; we had a wedding, family event and our anniversary, all of which had us running through multiple counties all weekend long. Even as the DD on Saturday, I was having a hard time driving because I was so damn tired from all the running around! Next time? Nap. Check.
So we got back to our house yesterday with these fabulous intentions of going to the park where Honey proposed to me and having a picnic, playing lawn darts with Noodle and generally relaxing. But we got home only to remember that we had a big old mess to clean up thanks to our unwanted guests. I had to deconstruct the office so the, ahem, exterminator could assist the unwanted guests with packing their bags. On that note, I was planning on creating a terribly clever post featuring 'ants on a log' in honor of our
sh*tty esteemed guests but then I realized two things: a. the whole situation irritates me so why would I write about it and b. if I were going to feature a dish it would have to be something wooden on a plate. The side of our house perhaps... I mean, that's what they like apparently. Thank you, house inspector for not noticing the copious amounts of ruined rotten wood and friendly carpenter ants...
Are you wondering if this is a blog about food or my weekend? Ok, back on track... so we had these plans of going to the park but when we got home it was so nice to BE home, the three of us, alone, that I just wanted to stay home. So honey mowed and vacuumed while Noodle and I put together this delicious and filling salad to accompany dinner.
The salad... it was so good I could eat it every day; the perfect dish for a carbohydrate addict... or perhaps not. Am I enabling my addiction to the glorious carb? Oh well... It's also great because it is so simple and can be made ahead of time, just don't put the bread in until you're ready to serve!
About 1 Tablespoon vinegar
About 1 Tablespoon oil
About 1/2 teaspoon chunky sea salt
About 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 loaf artisan bread (I used the kalamatta olive kind, to stick with my european theme)
4 vine ripened tomatoes, cut chunky
1/2 walla walla sweet onion
1 small log fresh mozzarella, cubed (get it local if you can!!)
4-5 cloves roasted garlic (you will want to roast the whole bulb)
15-20 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Turn on your grill and wrap the whole garlic clove in tin foil. Put on the grill and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes. You will smell the grilled deliciousness!
In a shakeable container (you know me... Kerr or Mason jar) combine the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Cover and shake the heck out of it. Do you hear me say this enough?
Slice your bread into 1 inch slices and put on a hot grill. Grill for about 3-4 minutes; you want it to be dark and crusty so don't get scared and take it off early. When one side is done, grill the other side the same way.
and after... mmm
While your bread is grilling and then cooling, chop your tomatoes, onion and mozzarella and put them in a bowl. Make sure to chop them fairly chunky so they stand up to your delicious grilled bread.
Scoop out 4-5 cloves from your roasted garlic and add to your bowl. Note: save the grilled garlic! It's so mild and flavorful and delicious... plus, I am making another salad that involves the rest of it so it definitely won't go to waste!
Julienne your basil leaves by stacking about six at a time, then rolling then slicing. You will get the most perfect ribbons every time! Add them to your tomato mixture.
Shake your dressing one more time and pour a little (not all of it) over your tomato mixture. Give it a light toss. Note: I always make too much dressing and save it or use it later. Don't overdress your salad before anyone gets to taste it... this annoys me and it will make your bread soggier than it should be.
When your bread is cool, cut the slices into cubes. I got about 12 chunky cubes from my pieces... this will vary depending on how big your overall loaf was. Rule of thumb: don't make it too small and don't make it too big... ha!
If you are going to serve it right away then add your bread cubes to the salad and give it a lovely toss. If you aren't going to serve it right away, cover the bowl and refrigerate, then add the bread right before you serve it.
I put it on a lovely serving plate and brought it outside to our 'home picnic'. The salad is hearty and flavorful, a textural dream and fun to eat for kids and adults alike!
Note: also goes well with delicious red wine, especially if drunk out of a mermaid or fishy wine glass.... happy anniversary Honey, you're the only fish for me!!