Pappa al Pomodoro is a classic thick Italian bread and tomato soup. But this is a twist on the classic soup recipe turning the soup into a gourmet salad plate. I have to confess it’s not my twist and I humbly bow down to chef Chris Cosentino for this twist. The ingredients are the same as the classic soup recipe but the idea of soaking the bread and then caramelising it on the outside while keeping the centre soft gives it an entirely different look, texture and taste.
Who says you need to be a professional to make amazing Italian food when there are amazing chefs sharing their secrets!
Pappa al Pomodoro – Italian Bread and Tomato Salad
By Ashima Goyal Siraj
Preparation time: |Cooking Time: |Serves: 2
6 plain wholewheat baked bread slices (rusk slices)*
4 very ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
15-20 basil leaves, lightly torn
2 salad tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small red onion, julienned
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
8-10 tbsp Olive oil
- In a food processor, combine together chopped tomatoes, garlic, ~10 basil leaves, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a bowl and submerge the rusk slices in it. Let them stand for about 5 mins.
- While the rusk is soaking the tomato mixture, prepare the salad. In a bowl, combine the salad tomato, onions and leftover basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper and vinegar. Toss to coat evenly.
- Heat a large flat pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, remove the rusk slices from the tomato mixture and add to the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the outside is a bit crispy.
- Transfer the bread to the serving dish. Arrange the tomato salad on top of the bread and serve. For the perfect taste, make sure your every bite has all the four main ingredients — caramelised bread, tomato, onion and basil.
- Note: *In the original recipe, chef makes his own very dry baked bread by placing bread slices in a gas oven overnight. The pilot light will dry the bread completely. Alternatively, you can toast the bread in a toaster, let it cool and stand overnight until it is completely dry. It’s important that you don’t use soft rusk or bread otherwise it will fall apart during cooking.
This recipe is also featured on my weekly recipe column at The Indian Express.