Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Salad with Torn Pesto Croutons
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 day-old baguette or Italian bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces or thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the pesto in a large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to combine. Add the bread and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spread on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer.
- Bake until crispy and golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on a large platter, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with basil, season to taste with salt and pepper and top with the croutons. This salad is best served room temperature.
Makes about 2 cups
Place 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves (about 2 cups, firmly packed), 1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, 2 garlic cloves smashed and minced and the juice of 1 lemon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times to roughly chop. With the motor running, pour 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times while adding the oil. Add 1/2 cup pine nuts, 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup) and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve or for up to 4 days.