Slow roasting fruit or vegetable is common practice to concentrate flavour. The long hours of gentle heat evaporate excess moisture so the taste is much more intense. This is a familiar technique I use often in Ottolenghi’s recipes so this week’s tomates confites from Around My French Table is less than challenging to say the least. The fun part comes after the roasting was completed. What to do with those sweet wrinkly tomatoes?
The thought of using the tomates confites as burger topping briefly crossed my mind. After all, I do have some bread and butter pickles ready for action. Hard to believe but I am not in the mood for burgers. An antipasti platter seemed like a wonderful idea to enjoy in the backyard with a glass of wine except I feel a little silly sitting in the yard all by myself. I do like the Italian direction so the idea of making panzanella bread salad with tomates confites instead of fresh tomatoes took hold.
With my string of weekend travels, I often find myself getting behind in consuming the weekly CSA vegetable share. A panzanella bread salad is a great solution because it uses so many seasonal produce from the fridge! The pint of assorted grape and cherry tomates obviously went into the making of tomates confites along with some heady rosemary and fresh garlic. Cucumber was diced and tossed with salt to draw out as much water as possible. Fresh shelling Romano beans were shelled and cooked. I was so glad they retained their characteristic pink and white mottled look even after cooking. Little bite-size bocconcini (fresh mozzarella) is natural partner with tomatoes along with torn basil leaves. I diced a demi-baguette and let the bread dry out overnight on a baking sheet. The dressing was simply some generous drizzles of fruity olive oil and pesto. Last but not least, I crisped some thin slices of prosciutto in a 400F oven for 10-12 minutes. They were crispy and salty and made delicious garnish.
This salade compose captures everything I love about summer eating. The flavour is bright and the taste is refreshing with an underlying richness. Best of all, it is best made ahead of time for the flavours to meld! The stale bread cubes soak up a cocktail of olive oil and juice exuded from the vegetable. It is most certainly my favourite component of this salad followed closely by the slow roasted tomatoes.