tomato salad with crushed croutons Recipes

tomato salad with crushed croutons

We spent the last week in what I call the vacation trifecta: among beaches, wineries and farm stands. The vacation was supposed to be a reward for getting my book finished by August 1st. Instead, I all but tried to cancel the vacation when I realized I wouldn’t be done. Despite all of my practice over the last few months, I’m not very good at not finishing things. I don’t like going to bed with dishes in the sink, I’d rather stay up until midnight getting something done than have to start the morning with an old item on my to-do list and I did not want to go on vacation until I finished my project. Oh no. I did not. I might have even dreaded it.

after the beach

everything is prettier on vacation

Thank goodness we went anyway as we had fantastic vacation, I dare say the best one we’ve had since adding another member to our family. As it turns out, when the baby sleeps (in a bed! in a strange place! like a champ! who is this child and what did he do with Jacob?) on vacation, everyone gets one and it also turns out, when you’re really on vacation, any and all promises you made to yourself to get some work done go out the window. Thank heavens for that too. Other signs of a good vacation: I didn’t take many photos. I ignored the stack of recipes I’d bookmarked for Ideal Summer House Cooking (yawn). We went to a different winery every afternoon. I fell asleep with saltwater in my hair on at least three different occasions. I discovered that when my son sings the alphabet, for the P, and the P only, he closes his eyes, reaches his arms wide, tips his head back and belts out a giant “PEEEEAA!” I splurged on local feta and started making crunchy summery salads every night tossed with it and whatever could be diced raw. We had countless ears of corn and at least one lunch of tomato-corn omelets (have you done this yet? Because I’m obsessed with them). There was a birthday breakfast for my husband of skillet baked French toast. There was an accidental recipe of what I’m now calling sugar steaks, and making intentionally. Two batches of dry-rub ribs (a twist on Molly’s rub, McGee’s technique) in the oven, because it’s so, so easy that way. And my future fall obsession came to me early at our daily jaunts to the North Fork Table & Inn Food Truck: chicken posole. It was amazing; I promise to try to recreate it soon.

lots of this

lots of that
tasting room
toasting peach-sized marshmallows

Finally, there were the s’mores. In my defense, I walked by this bag three times at the local grocery store on three different days before my resistance waned. I tried to have a proper, prim response to it — “How obscene!” “Why must we super-size everything?” “Well, that would just make a mess.” etc. It didn’t work, we bought them anyway and toasted them over the grill. I’m not sorry.

my favorite way to end vacation
tomato pretties

There’s an organic farm on the North Fork named Sang Lee that’s famous among the locals. Though hardly economical, the produce is amazing, but the thing I always haul back by the pound are their tiny rainbow tomatoes. As the type of person who color-sorts her cookbooks, I find the rows of baskets, each filled with a different shade of tomato immensely satisfying to gaze upon, and arrange in bags like bouquets. Perfect summer tomatoes need little to make them amazing, but I don’t think anyone has ever placed tomatoes near bread (pan con tomate, anyone? scalloped tomatoes?) and regretted what happened in the middle. Few salads are more dreamy than Tuscan panzanella, where toasted seasoned fresh croutons soak up the tomato’s deliciousness, but I’ve always wanted to merge them together like this, where instead of large chunks of croutons, you have a dusting of immensely seasoned breadcrumb-like crouton rubble coating each cut side of tomato. I insist that you only sprinkle your crouton fairy dust over the tomatoes close to serving time — a soggy lid is not the goal here — and enjoy the garlicky crunch with each sweet summery bite.

had some leftover bread
toasted, uh, a little too much
tomato salad

One year ago: Zucchini and Almond Pasta Salad, Raspberry Limeade Slushies and Sweet Corn Pancakes
Two years ago: Lighter Airy Pound Cake, Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad, Lobster Rolls and Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting
Three years ago: Key Lime Meltaways, How to Poach and Egg, Smitten Kitchen-Style and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Four years ago: Mixed Bean Salad and Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
[New! Here we go!] Five years ago: Barbecue Sauce for the Barbecue Agnostic

Tomato Salad with Crushed Croutons

The recipe below is fairly basic, but in the realm of tomatoes and bread, there are innumerable ways to tweak it. For example, I’m having a love affair with crumbly salty cheeses this summer in the feta family; tossing the tomatoes with some fine feta rubble before dressing and crouton-ing them would be amazing. Mint might be a fun change from basil, and if you’re into neither, try flat-leaf parsley for a fresh but mild flavor. I am nearly constitutionally incapable of making a dish that involves tomatoes and not adding small white beans. I resisted today, but would not next time here. Minced olives would be at home sprinkled over the tomatoes, too. And if you’re not so into red wine vinegar, an aged sweet balsamic dotted over the tomatoes would be… I bet I don’t even need to tell you how awesome. Would love to hear how you tweak this, so let me know in the comments.

Crushed croutons
4 slices hearty white bread
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Tomato salad
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, mixed colors if you can find them
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mellow red wine vinegar (yours isn’t mellow? use less)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

Handful basil leaves, slivered.

Prepare the crushed croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into chunks and pule them in a food processor until coarsely ground (largest chunks can be lima bean sized). No food processor? Keep tearing the bread up until it is in ragged, mixed sized crumbs. Spread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and parmesan until croutons are evenly coated with oil. Bake until golden brown and dry, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. (Warm is fine, hot might wilt your tomatoes, boo.)

Assemble salad: Halve each tomato lengthwise and arrange cut side up on a platter. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar and a few grinds of pepper in a small dish. Drizzle over tomatoes. Sprinkle tomatoes with crushed croutons. Garnish with slivers of basil.

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194 comments on tomato salad with crushed croutons

  1. Maria

    Looks like you had a fab vacation, mind you – anywhere looks great when you’re stuck in the rainy UK!
    Can’t wait to try this – might even make up for the lack of sunshine this year….

  2. This makes me so sad. While I love taunting East Coast friends with ripe tomatoes out of my garden in late March, karma soon comes back around to bite me. In the scorching heat of a Phoenix summer, tomato season ends early here. Which means while the rest of the country is inundated with summer fruit, I am sadly bookmarking things for next year. But this will most definitely happen next year.

  3. deb! i don’t know if i’ve ever commented, but i’m going to do so now because i finally got my copy of everyday food and was so proud to see you in its pages. i know, i hardly know you, but you see, you were the first cooking blog to catch my fancy 5 years ago and now i can’t even keep up with the all the subscribed-to blogs on my google reader. so thanks for being the gateway drug, congrats on the new book coming out soon (can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on a copy), and merci for being awesome. you deserved a guilt-free vacation!!!

  4. I’m right there with you on the obsession with finishing things. Sadly, our kitchen sink is just a few feet behind our family room couch. So if I sit down to read or watch TV at night without cleaning the kitchen, the greasy pans call out mockingly to me. (My husband says he can’t hear them.)

  5. Oh Em Gee, this sounds like it was made for me. Tomatoes! Bread! My darlings! What a spectacular idea. Lunch tomorrow!

    And I’m in the same boat as you – my manuscript *was* due August 1, now it’s September 1 and we’re leaving on our honeymoon four days later. I’d. Better. Not. Be. Late.

  6. Argh, tomatoes! I’m going to miss tomatoes! We’re moving to the southwest during tomato season… I think I will never meet a good tomato again… …

    Must try this salad – love the idea of crushed croutons. I wonder if it’d be good with olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction? A little sweet-and-sour punch. I had some cherry tomatoes yesterday that really drove home the “tomato = fruit” thing. They’re unbelievably sweet right now. Yum. Yumyumyum.

  7. meg

    We, too, caved in and bought the gigantic marshmallows. They were superb, but I have to confess that the ratio of charred marshmallow to gooey marshmallow is better with the smaller ones.

  8. Don’t feel bad – the only reason I didn’t buy them was that I thought they’d be to bulky to do right on my s’more brownies.

    I still may go back and get them… biting into a slightly-burnt gooey ball of sugary fluff that size is too much temptation for me to resist. :)

  9. Erin in PA

    I have a bowl of rainbow colored cherry tomatoes calling out for this recipe, and a loaf of homemade bread, and a basil plant on the front porch bursting – dinner is DONE!

  10. I share your inability to just leave things be. This means I generally have about 5 1/2 hours sleep on average. Im writing this in my kitchen in the middle of making a dish, hanging out the washing and trying to write my own blog entry. Why do we put so much on ourselves?

    Incidently I couldnt have resisted those tomoatoes either. Looks wonderful.

  11. Danielle

    Can we get a video of Jacob singing the Alphabet Song? And that salad sounds wonderful, I just finished a caprese sandwich for lunch and more of the same is welcomed.

    1. deb

      Daneielle — Unfortunately, every time I take out my phone, it causes chaos/tantrums/tears, which limits my ability to produce video. “MELMO! MELMO!” Jacob thinks Elmo lives in our phones, ever since we made the mistake of playing him Elmo videos from YouTube to get him to him to stay still so we could clip his nails. It’s taken him 2 years to learn his name but about 2 minutes to learn the name “Elmo” now and forever.

  12. What a great post! Tomatoes are my FAVORITE thing EVA! And these pictures … my mouth is WATERING! Glad you had a fun vacay! Now back to reality and Fall (my favorite season of the year!).

  13. Olena

    Hi, Deb! I am fairly new to your blog! But I’m already in love with it! I’m just a beginner, but you have so many wonderful ideas that I can’t wait to get home from work and try some of your recipes out!!!!! Yumm yumm! <3

  14. google says that the traditional gift for a 5th anniversary is wood – which seems fitting since you linked back to a barbecue sauce recipe. get it? wood chips! that’s what i would get you! happy 5th anniversary!

  15. amy

    this looks amazing! I can’t wait for your cookbook! I don’t buy many these days (what with the internets and google being so helpful in the cooking department) but for you, I’ll be shelling out the $$s for the book

  16. Brittany

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have never commented – this post was a must-comment for me! The North Fork of LI is one of my most favorite places in the world – I grew up in Maine but every summer visited my mom’s family’s house in Cutchogue. Sang Lee is a daily stop for our house in the summer, I have a picture of their tomatoes hanging in my kitchen in Boston. Any chance you went to the McCall vinyard? My step-father is the owner and my mom works the tasting room with him daily! Also I LOVE your photographs, they inspire me to be a better photographer, so thanks for that!

  17. Amy

    Looks fantastic. It looks like it’d also be delicious thrown in with some pasta for a great and filling dinner. Can’t wait to try it out with what you call my own “tweaks”.

    Also! Woohoo for the new “5 years ago” links! It’s so impressive how you’ve had such a great site for so long!

  18. Michele

    Looks awesome! You were up in my stomping grounds, the very place where my CSA is from and where we make sure we get nice and hammered at our fave vineyard, Osprey’s Dominion. Did you try Catapano’s lavender and honey goat cheese, by any chance? Oh. Dear. Lord. Next time you go, you must. Incredible. And awesome lavender honey, which is VERY hard to find.

    Enjoyed the recipe too, BTW!

  19. That looks unbelievable! My friend and I tend to a (new) blog about the north fork and I have been going out to Southold since i was literally 0. It is my favorite place on earth and I am glad you really enjoyed it! I recently did a post about food on the North Fork ( and I am sad that I couldn’t mention all the amazing places on the north fork (eg. the food truck) but if you are ever back out again check out some of the places. Especially Krupski’s in the fall, I have so many memories of going there as a kid to pick up our yearly pumpkin, simply priceless.

  20. Aly

    This is so perfect for summer …. Just wanted to let you know that I had the same reached to the obscene appearing jumbo marshmallows, and I must also admit I haven’t had the gumption to throw them in my grocery cart yet. I am hoping before summer’s end, I will. Thanks for another recipe to add to my repertoire.

  21. EG

    We don’t have supersized marshmallows where I live! Major bummer.

    Looks like a wonderful vacation, and Jacob is as darling as ever! Almost 2. :) My baby turned 2 in July. I’m LOVING 2.

    (For me “North Fork” = work because I work for the bank that bought North Fork Bank. It never occurred to me that it could also be a lovely vacation destination!)

  22. Marcia

    So glad you had a great week! I know I complained about Sang Lee Prices, but who can resist those tomatoes..not me ; even though I have a son who can eat 20 bucks worth of those multi- colored mini globes in 10 minutes! We have actually done a blind taste testing to see which color is sweetest! Our supper tonight was North Fork BLTs doesn’t get easier.
    Yay, you got some sleep..its the air!..So NOW finish up that inevitably wonderful, inevitably successful book , and then come back and get your own little place. Its hard to imagine that you won’t end up here!

  23. Killian

    Deb, this looks fantastic.

    As a photographer, I have to ask: which wide angle lens did you rent? I was away for 10 days and rented one too, so I was curious. =) (I went for the Tokina 11-16mm.)

    1. deb

      Killian — I rented the 16-35 2.8 from Canon. I wasn’t that into it; I struggle with zoom lenses. This week I have the 35mm 1.4, which I took the tomato salad pictures with today.

      jillie — It involves a mix of dark brown sugar, coarse salt, black pepper and some red pepper flakes. I never really got a recipe down, just rubbed it on about 15 minutes before grilling the steaks. I’m really not a steak person but loved these; they got nicely caramelized.

      Gretchen — That is the BEST. Especially given the Elmo issue I brought up in comment #40.

  24. Wendy

    I think that’s my favorite picture–the sliced tomatoes–and now I’m hungry for tomato salad AND old-fashioned Christmas candy.

  25. Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine

    Oh tomatoes, how I will miss thee in the winter !

    At least I’ll have these lovely photos to keep me going :)

  26. Your tomato salad looks delicious. I love cooking in summer because a recipe doesn’t have to be complicated, the produce does all the work. I shall not judge you on the marshmallows. I would have done the same thing. :)

  27. CJ McD

    Oh that salad is soooo wonderful to think about. So glad you took time for yourself and your family and enjoyed a “real” vacation. So glad you shared this salad recipe too.

  28. What a fun vaca you had! I so want to eat fresh garden tomatoes with croutons. My garden is so slow. I sometimes make my croutons in a skillet, do you?

  29. Danielle

    Love the North Fork! My parents live in Cutchogue and we’re down from Boston all the time. Nothing better than Harbes corn! Mmm! Love all the farmstands and pumpkin time at Krupskis.

  30. Kelly

    I made oven-scorched tomatoes (from Mollie Katzen’s “The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without”) for the first time yesterday, and almost wept with joy upon the first bite. Croutons on top of that would be divine. I strongly suggest you try it ASAP!

  31. Joanne

    OMG!!!! I have the best cherry tomatoes right now. We grew them from seeds and they are called Jelly Beans. They are so intensely tomatoey and sweet. I can’t wait to try this recipe out with my lovely cherry tomatoes.

  32. I know all about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of a big project. Writing a cookbook is certainly a big project. Some days I didn’t get out of my pjs because I had to test recipe after recipe when I was writing my cookbook. Good luck in finishing your cookbook!

  33. Ellen

    Sooo if one were to add white beans to this yummy dish, how exactly would they go about it? Simply toss them in drained and rinsed? Feel free to laugh at the dummy cook.

  34. Oh, my goodness! Just went on my first North Fork adventure a few weeks ago and fell in love. Catapano Dairy Farm swept me off my feet with their goat’s milk fudge. Yum :)

  35. This post is amazing, thank you for sharing what sounds like a very rewarding vacation. The kind of vacation that makes you appreciate all the details and gives you thousands of little memories to bring home and savor.

    And that recipe sounds amazing.

  36. I want to catch your ‘problem’ of finishing your to do list before you go to bed. I have things on mine that have been there for years. I kid you not. I’m embarrassed, what can I say? Tomatoes and crunchy croutons sounds like heaven. Plus my son is currently obsessed with crunchy food so win:win! xx

  37. Kate

    Deb, those tomatoes are absolutely beautiful – the two photos of them cut, firstly on the baking tray and then the white plate are gorgeous – they look like so jewel like and seems as though they taste pretty good too. Sounds like you and your family had an idyllic week……

  38. Oh, how perfect. A glass of pink wine, a piece of grilled meat and a big plate of that. And sand between my toes. Reading this, I feel like I’m on holiday. Even if ‘summer’ in London is a joke.

  39. Shippo

    I always love adding scallions or chives to fresh tomato caprese style dishes. the little bursts of flavor are surprising and a nice addition.

  40. Katy

    Catapano is great! My dad and I started going when they were just a few goats in a yard in Mattituck. I’m so glad they’re doing well.

  41. Emily S.

    What a perfect, light August meal! It was fabulous & I’m so glad I saw this on you Twitter feed yesterday. The b.f. and I were both fans and it’s going in my summer recipe binder! Thanks!

  42. Lisaj

    oh! Please tell me whats hanging on the line in the second picture? Is it crochet? Blankets, towels,floor covering, yours, theirs?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. deb

      Lisaj — They’re beach towels. At one point they’d been available in three colors, but now only one is left. It’s so hard to find non-junky, pretty beach towels that are relatively affordable, right?

      Ellen — Yup, drained and rinsed.

      Rancho Gordo junkies — Did you guys see that they now have a new small white bean? Some women have compulsions about shoes, I have a bean affliction.

  43. Amy

    This salad looks like a perfect way to enjoy summer tomatoes and your photos – beautiful as always. I might just have to take a jaunt out to see that North Fork Table & Inn Food Truck! Thanks for all the delicious recipes!

  44. Oh thanks for such a summery post! Everyone around the interwebs is rushing away summer in favor of sweater weather, but as you captured in your photos, summer on the East End of LI is gorgeous, and must not be rushed for any reason. Lovely!

  45. FastEddie

    Yes! Feta and balsamic! Why do people waste their time with mozzerella on tomatoes when feta exists? Home grown tomatoes (halved cherry or diced larger ), fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic, feta and croutons for crunch!. Sweet, Salty, Savory, Tart, oiliy and crunchy all in one bite. AWESOME!!! This is on our table EVERY night as long as the tomato plants cooperate!

  46. I can vouch for the tastiness of those tomatoes since my CSA veggies come from Sang Lee. They have great produce! I might have to give this a try with the tomatoes I’m picking up tonight.

  47. Arv

    Pea pesto = ingenious. Looks like you include some pretty crunchy veggies in your omelet — how does that play with the soft egg? It’s just mean to say the words “skillet” and “french toast” as part of the same phrase and not elaborate further. And finally — “I’m not sorry.” Best quote ever. More reasons why I’m Smitten obsessed…

  48. Liz

    Made this quickly after work for an iftar- sooo good. I only had wheat bread, which worked just fine. I served it with halved kalamatas, balsamic vinegar in place of red wine, with goat cheese and mint crumbled on top. Thanks!

  49. Elisa

    Um, hello, so when should we all be expecting this book-don’t tell me it’s going to be after Spring 2011. First my beloved Borders goes out of business and now this…

    1. deb

      Elisa — Definitely a fall 2012 thing now. Sorry! I work slowly, it turns out. And the blog is just now kinda hitting 5 years. I always say I started it in September 2006 (that’s when I started sharing it) but there are a few posts from August of that year too.

      Arv — I saute the corn for a few minutes first in butter, I add the tomatoes and cook them for another minute. Take them out of the skillet, wipe it out and make the omelet with that as a filling. I often cook the scallions right into the omelet. We love it! Sometimes with white cheddar too…

  50. Elisa

    BTW-can’t wait to begin my quest of finding those beautiful tomatoes at some farm somewhere!! I love your blog-didn’t you just have an anniversary?

  51. My husband is obsessed with croutons. So much so that if he “misbehaves” in any way, we have a joke about him not getting any… croutons, that is. :) I’m sure he would love this!

  52. Ellen Renee

    My son (now 16 years old) sang “little little me” at the L,M,N,O,P section of the alphabet song – my husband had him sitting on his lap in front of the computer and captured this sweet moment – now we have it as a desktop icon and click on it every now and again to hear that sweet baby voice – and really irratate our 6 foot baby boy.

  53. This is the first year in several I have NOT made it to the north fork and this post is making me SO jealous… i will now dream about sang lee, sep’s corn and my 3 year old’s daily rides on the greenport carousel! can’t wait to try this recipe

  54. Cathy

    I made this tonight with some of my garden tomatoes. It was as good as it looks in your photos. The crumbs are terrific, I’ll use them on lots of things; salads, mac & cheese, soups. ummm, ummm

  55. Fantastic idea for baby heirlooms! I’ll have to try it.

    One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to quarter them, lightly season with sea salt and pepper, take inch-thick slices of plain or herbed chevre and insert them arbitrarily whilst making sure the slice is intact. Sometimes I have to reform them a bit like putty, which is admittedly part of the fun. Then I bread the slices with seasoned Italian bread crumbs (but now your recipe has inspired me to experiment with croutons) and lightly fry in olive oil with perhaps a pat of butter. I serve it with an organic herb salad and balsamic vinaigrette and it is always spot-on.

    And while I risk blathering on like an idiot, I’m ecstatic that I’ve come across a blog like yours, with its clean aesthetic, genuine writing, and great recipes. Bravo! I’m a new loyal reader.

  56. That sounds like the best vacation! And you earned it, don’t you think? I just came across your blog some days ago, but I could sit here for hours reading and looking at your pictures. Great!

  57. Louise

    Thinking about one ingredient – mellow red wine vinegar. My instinct tells me that using 1 teaspoon of balsamic and 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar may achieve the mellow quality being sought. I would mix the two vinegars with the olive oil before adding to salad for consistency. White balsamic would make it even mellower. Thanks for all your lovely and REAL recipes.

  58. Kaitlin

    We made this last night, sort of. We didn’t have proper bread for croutons and only had pecorino sardo cheese and only red cherry tomatoes.

    But, man. It was pretty amazing. In the words of my husband, “I heartily endorse this service or product.” Which is what he says when he unequivocally likes something.

  59. Sounds heavenly! Those tomatoes…I want to reach through the screen and snatch them up! I love the idea of white beans, but I think the texture would distract. I think I would whip the beans into a simple puree first. Use the red wine vinegar in the puree, and swap in balsamic in the dressing. The crunch from those beautiful croutons I can tell was just lovely. Glad you had a fun vacation! I am all kinds of jealous. :)

  60. The tomatoes are absolutely beautiful! Tomato salad has become one of my favorite light dishes this summer, but mine haven’t been nearly so colorful. I’ll now have to be on the lookout for mixed colors and will definitely be making my own croutons in the near future. Yum!

  61. Kiera

    Nothing has ever quite captioned OMG like this post/recipe. The one and ONLY thing that could improve it for my humble self, would be if you would send me a sample of your own creation.

    ps i was THRILLED to see you in martha stewart’s everday food. I opened it and was like, “I know her! I KNOW HER!!!” six degrees of virtual separation?

  62. I love tomato bread salad in the summer! I usually tear up a day old loaf and toast the croutons in the oven, then toss slivered garlic with the warm bread as it cools. I add some small diced persian or japanese cucumbers (small and super crunchy) and a little slivered red onion when the bread is cool, and homegrown or heirloom tomatoes, of whatever size and whatever variety. I prefer a sprinkling of balsamic and a good dose of a good olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper with the slivered basil, even if the balsamic makes it look a little muddy. There is never any of this leftover!

  63. AngAK

    did you know that the Ghiradelli chocolate squares are just the perfect size for making square s’mores? milk chocolate and caramel—-heaven in a square when combined with a toasty marshmallow!

  64. Megan

    Love it! We spent last Friday on the North Fork as well – that food truck truly is amazing – our group sampled all of the menu offerings. And I love that you have your little guy with you for the wine tastings – ours, who is a few weeks younger than yours – took a snooze in the car at Sparkling Pointe :)

  65. Laura

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but with peak-of-summer, farm-fresh tomatoes it was heavenly. I loved the crouton mix in particular!

  66. Whoa, this looks great!! As much as I have been eating at food trucks here in LA so I can review them, I miss the simple thrown together home-made summer meal! These look scrumptious, and I would eat them as a main course for sure. I’m jealous of your vacation, but you also recap it so beautifully, it’s impossible to begrudge :) I’m glad you went!

  67. Frenchy

    Hello! I made this yesterday. Oh la la, as we say in France. With “fleur de sel” and nice olive oil as dressing, and tomatoes from my grandma’s garden. Bliss. Merci for your website and for posting these charming pics of your son. Mine is just a little bit younger, so it is quite funny to see him slowly evolving like Jacob!

  68. leaming2956

    Had this tomato salad with corn on the cob for dinner last night. It was like eating summer on a plate! Didn’t have shallots, but added some fresh thyme and oregano from my garden. Also added some chopped heirloom tomatoes. It was just terrific.

  69. Lucy

    This was the first SK recipe I tried….cannot wait to try more. Made the house smell wonderful, and my husband really thought it was a winner too. Only change I’d make is to increase the croutons by 50%. The ratio of tomato to crouton on your fork matters! (cheese is brilliant addition BTW)

  70. liza

    Oh so delish. Had for two nights now. First your spectacular version, raves from guests for that. I had made too much and had some leftover tomato crouton mix, and just refrigerated it. Tonight made a new batch of croutons – this time added just the tiniest bit of balsamic to the mix – mixed the tomato (what was now panzanella) with a little fresh made ricotta and tossed the crunchy croutons in.

    Now I am off for a long bike ride!

    Glad you enjoyed the North Fork again, I am from there and living in Europe now so it was great to see what I am missing (I think I mean that).

  71. anne

    Isn’t the North Fork wonderful? It has everything…gorgeous scenery, water on either side of the fork, farms and great wines. Delighted to read you enjoyed your vacation here. Next time, don’t miss Wickham’s Farmstand in Cutchogue for the best peaches and Silver Queen corn…and Latham’s Farmstand in Orient for heirloom tomatoes, tiny freshly dug potatoes and luscious berries.

  72. We can’t eat enough summer tomatoes and I can’t wait to try this twist on panzanella. I’m salivating! You’ve got me imagining a rainbow cherry tomato patch in our garden next summer. With our cool summers, we can’t grow the big guys, but the cherry-types are possible with a little coaxing.

  73. I desperately wish I currently had access to a decent quality tomato so I could try this out.

    I never used to be a big fan of tomatoes, really, but since actually preparing them properly a few times they may be the best food in the world.

  74. Julie

    Used my farm-share tomatoes and basil, added some feta and chopped olives – delicious! Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!

  75. Alya

    Hi Deb. I just read my new Everyday Food magazine and there you were! The eggplant looks amazing and you look as nice as I always imagined you would! Congrats.

  76. Jendorf

    Made this tonight, and added cucumbers because I had a bunch in my garden, and we’re eating cucumbers for every meal! Simple, delicious, my kids ate it = a real winner! I agree with a previous poster that a drizzle of balsamic would make this perfect. Next time. . .

  77. it just happens that my 5 year old and i made your graham crackers this past week. he came up with the brilliant suggestion of using them to make s’mores (he is so my son). in a word, stupendous!

  78. I grew up on a farm on the North Fork. We ate only what we grew – flora and fauna – mom made many of our clothes … I hated it but now it’s all back in style, uh? There’s a vineyard now where my dad grew potatoes. I know the goat cheese lady – Karen. It’s a great place – and one I don’t miss so much with all the summer traffic. Hope you had a chance to visit Luce’s Landing – I went to high school with Keith. Funny thing – all I want is to go back to the farm and grow crops and raise our own animals and cook and bake and woodwork … but I can’t afford it!

  79. Renee

    I made these tomatoes with crushed croutons this very afternoon. They have been completely devoured! The only tweak: I used balsamic vinegar. These are to die for. Thanks!

  80. Mame M.

    I opened up my Martha Stewart everyday food magazine yesterday – and there you were! It was very exciting. I love love your blog and we seem to share the same theory on eating. While eating meals, eat healthy or at the very least ‘fresh’ … but when eating desserts (or as we call them in our house, treats) … go all out! And when eating things in between (muffins, pancakes) try to add some nutrition to it, even if it’s still not ‘Healthy’ at least it’s ‘healthier’!

  81. Kristen

    Deb – we are planning a jaunt to the North Fork in October! Cannot wait to go and North Fork Table and Inn is on our list! Do you find most of the wineries are kid-friendly? Which ones did you visit?

    1. deb

      Kristen — I thought so. I mean, they don’t have kid activities (well, some might for specific events) but at most, you can sit outside so that kid can wander around and see the vines etc. Oh, and Jacob was so obsessed with trying the fizzy (um, no, obviously) that we ordered some sparkling water at one place and let him drink it out of a flute. He was very excited about this.

  82. Jill

    Currently eating a corn and tomato omlet! Came looking for dinner ideas and found my lunch instead. Perfect way to use some of the produce we have in abundance right now!

  83. Estee

    I don’t have an oven, but make very similar croutons just by sauteeing the crumbs and herbs & aromatics in a futon slow and steady over medium heat. Works fine. This method works just as well for granola!

  84. roxlet

    Ah, the North Fork! Is there any place more rustic, more perfectly forgotten by time? Are there peaches better than Wickham’s? Jams better than Briermere’s?

  85. ESP

    I know exactly how I’m going to tweak this! (that never happens). This looks so much like a savory crumble, that I think that’s whats going to happen to it- most likely with a corn/cornmeal crumble topping. Now the only question is…to cook or not to cook the tomatoes?
    I made a butternut squash crumble a bit ago that was divine- I just can’t wait.

    PS Very long time reader, finally first comment. Love everything about the site. Any idea when will we be able to start pre-ordering the cookbook?

  86. Katie

    I’m eating this for the second time this week- well, sort of. The first time I made it I used cornbread, this time I’m using whole-wheat bread but replaced the red wine/olive oil with a semi-homemade roasted garlic dressing (roasted garlic blended with Trader Joe’s “light” champagne vinaigrette) and baby heirlooms.

  87. Betsy

    Loved it, but, seriously, what is there not to love? We cut up on large tomato from the garden that NEEDED to be used that night, mixed it in with some cherry tomatoes, added some fresh corn right off of the cob, and used Whole Foods balsamic vinegar instead of red wine. Enjoyed it with the buttermilk/corn/chive popovers and a glass of wine, on the front porch while the sun was setting :)

  88. mert

    I made this into more of a dinner dish by adding some goat cheese. The mixture of the creamy cheese with the crunchy croutons and juicy tomatoes was perfect and heavenly. I also squeezed in a bit of lemon juice with the oil and balsamic vinegar. I can’t wait to make this again.

  89. I made this last night, and woowee it was delicious! I added extra garlic and substituted the white bread for wholegrain, but only because it was all I had. I loved it even more today because all the dressing got soaked up into the croutons without them getting soggy. So good.

  90. Lindsay

    Amazing that something so simple can be sooo delicious! My hubby and I devoured this and the last bit almost came to fisticuffs. :D

  91. Allison K

    This made a great super quick dinner with some pasta underneath. The croutons are just ridiculous – though, we were bad and added another clove of garlic and twice as much parmesan. Ha!

  92. What a lovely site! How is it possible that I’m so late to the party?

    I grow heirlooms, and all that remains of the tomatoes after a sad bout of late blight are my cherries…lots and lots of cherries in every shade imaginable. Now I know exactly what we’re having for dinner.

    Thank you for the inspiration! So glad you had a restful vacation.

  93. eleonard

    My boyfriend emailed this one to me — the first time he has ever requested a dish via email. Tasty and joyful salad. We added duck bacon (I don’t know. It was what was at the farmer’s market and was a great addition.) The salad was fantastic with the dijon mustard steak kabobs from your site and slices of grilled peaches with mint. Divine. Thanks Deb!

  94. MuffinMouse

    Just made this for lunch, and am currently eating it. Simple, quick, and delicious. I love how my croutons are soaking up the vinegar and olive oil, it compliments my garden cherry tomatoes perfectly!

  95. M.

    I had a tonne of tomatoes all of a sudden today and no idea of what to do with them.
    I tried this and it was DELICIOUS!
    We were almost combative about the last spoonful and DH licked the plate upon which the croutons had been resting.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    We have a keeper.