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Cold Tomato and Bread Salad

July 2012

Cojondongo
Extremaduran cold tomato bread salad

From Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen (Clarkson Potter)

Serves 4

2 thick slices rustic bread
6 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive 
6 ripe plum tomatoes 
1/2 garlic clove, peeled 
¼ teaspoon sweet pimento (Spanish smoked paprika)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup quartered green olives
Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and toss in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread the bread on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set the croutons aside to cool.
 
Cut 4 of the tomatoes in half. Place a grater over a mixing bowl. Rub the cut surface of the tomatoes over the grater until all of the flesh is grated; discard the skin. Spoon the tomato pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Allow the pulp to drain for 30 minutes. Reserve the drained pulp. Finely dice the remaining two tomatoes.
 
Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic cloves together with the pimento, parsley and a pinch of salt to make a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.) Whisk 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the vinegar together in a small bowl then stir in the garlic-parsley paste.
 
To serve, combine the croutons, peppers, diced tomatoes, scallions and olives in a mixing bowl and toss together. Pour in the dressing and mix well. Spread the reserved tomato pulp on a serving platter and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Top with the bread salad and season to taste with salt. 

Photograph by Thomas Schauer