Green Salad with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette
This ebullient green salad is dressed with ripe, sweet tomatoes marinated in sherry vinegar and fresh basil. The garlicky croutons add loads of crunchy texture, giving this a bit more staying power. Serve this as is for a substantial salad course or side dish, or bulk it up with the likes of cubed tofu or shredded chicken, avocado, jammy eggs, tuna, chickpeas, cheese or nuts and seeds.
Servings: 4 to 6
Servings: 4 to 6
- 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes (or quartered cherry or grape tomatoes)
- 5 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, more to taste
- Fine sea salt
- 5 ounces fresh baguette, ciabatta or crusty sourdough bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 2 quarts salad greens, such as mixed baby lettuces, mesclun, arugula or a combination
- ¼ cup Parmesan shavings (optional)
- In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, 1 grated or minced garlic clove, basil, sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes (and up to 4 hours).
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread bread out on a baking sheet and bake until pale golden, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Smash and peel remaining 4 garlic cloves. Put them in a pan along with ½ cup olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the garlic turns pale golden in spots and starts to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. (Lower the heat if the garlic starts to brown.)
- Add toasted bread and salt to the pan and fry until the bread is deeply golden and crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes. If the pan looks dry, add a little more oil. Transfer croutons to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let cool.
- Just before serving, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil into the tomato and basil mixture. Taste and add more salt, vinegar or oil, if needed; it should taste bright and balanced. Add the greens, Parmesan (if using) and croutons (along with the fried garlic, if you like) to the tomato mixture, tossing gently to combine. Serve immediately.