Salad of Tomatoes, Lemons, Croutons, Capers, and Basil
This summer salad is composed of some of the seasons greatest hits: Meyer lemons from our little trees, a giant Russian variety of tomatoes, and tiny Provencal basil from the garden; whole grain bread from the village baker; and capers from our little shrub that now produces an abundant supply. And when my caper supply has dwindled, I love to make this with the giant caper berries that form once the flower has bloomed and fallen to the ground. Slicing the lemon paper-thin turns it into an almost sweet fruit, with its tasty juices mingling with the juices of the sweet tomatoes and soaking into the crunchy toasted cubes of bread.
4 to 6 Servings
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursecold appetizer
Taste and Texturefruity, herby, juicy, savory, sweet
Type of Dishfirst course salad
- 1 lemon
- 4 firm, ripe medium tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and sliced lengthwise
- 4 slices whole grain bread, toasted and cut into cubes
- ½ cup capers in vinegar (or substitute caper berries in vinegar), drained
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons best quality homemade vinegar
- Fine sea salt to taste
- A mandoline or very sharp knife
With a mandoline, cut the lemon into paper, thin slices, shaving the slices directly into a large, shallow bowl to catch all the juices. Layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the lemon.
Sprinkle with the bread cubes. Scatter the capers and basil on top.
Drizzle with the oil and vinegar. Season with salt. Toss to evenly coat the ingredients.
Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavors to mellow, then serve as a first course or as part of a buffet.
2004 Patricia Wells