The Cottage Grilled Bread Salad
The Italian classic panzanella gets a new spin when you grill the bread. This added dimension, I think, further brings out the summer sweetness of dead-ripe beefsteak tomatoes. The juxtaposition of the caramelized, toasted bread against the sweet-tart tomatoes makes for plenty of contrast in flavor and texture. You can also try this without grilling the tomatoes, if you prefer. Just don’t make this salad too far in advance. You want the bread to have a little structure and crispness.
Serves 6 to 8
1. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When it’s about half melted, throw in the garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, allowing the garlic to take on a little bit of color. Remove from the heat and brush this mixture on both sides of each slice of bread.
2. Oil the grill racks. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Place the bread on the grill, close the lid, and cook, turning once, until well marked. Careful here; depending on the moisture content of the bread, this could happen as quickly as 2 minutes (or about 1 minute on each side), but it usually takes about 4 minutes. Place the tomatoes on the grill, close the lid, and cook for a few minutes per side.
4. Remove the bread to a cutting board, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, vinegar, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss gently with your hands to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if you desire. Serve at room temperature.