Creamed sorrel and kale Turkish egg

Breakfast and brunch is my favorite meal. This is the time of the day when we should eat the biggest portion of food and preferably full of nutrients. It is so easy to make something that is nourishing your body, let it be vegan, dairy free, gluten free or no dietary restrictions. This recipe uses dairy and the toast has trace amount of gluten only. I buy a local multigrain sourdough bread.

The simplest version of a Turkish egg is yogurt topped with a poached egg, drizzled with generous amount of chili oil and adding fresh herbs. Dill, chive goes really well with the yogurt. But you can add parsley, tarragon, mint, anything you prefer. This photo here shows this version.

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For another version of Turkish egg I replace a part of the yogurt with a sour cream creamed sauteed sorrel and kale. This way you can add lots of green in the dish, providing more nutrition.  You can use any kinds of green leaves that you like. However sorrel makes a huge difference. In case you haven’t tried it and you like tartness, you should give it a go. Sauteed sorrel tastes completely different from any other greens.

I seasoned the yogurt with only himalayan salt, minced garlic, EVO and chopped chive and dill. For the sorrel and kale sautee you will need EVO, green leaves (sorrel, kale, spinach, chard, etc) , sour cream, salt and black pepper. You can drizzle the plated dish with chili oil or use chili flakes. I garnished my plate with young sorrel leaves, chopped chive, dill, chili flakes, chive and garlic chive blossoms.

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Ingredients (yields 2)

  • 2 cups of your choice of yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp EVO
  • 1 tbsp chopped chive and dill
  • salt
  • 1 big bunch of sorrel leaves
  • 1/2 bunch of kale leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp sour cream
  • salt, black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. For the creamed sorrel clean the green leaves, remove hard stalks. Pat them dry.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan, add greens, pinch of salt and wilt them just for a couple of minutes. Drizzle a bit of water on it if it is too dry and starts browning. If you use sorrel, do not panic!!!! it will turn brown when cooking. The kale or spinach will help to keep the green color.
  3. Add the greens in your blender with the sour cream. Blend it to a creamy texture. If it is too thick you can add very little ice cold water.
  4. Season it with salt and pepper.
  5. Start boiling water for the poached eggs!
  6. For the garlic yogurt mince the garlic, or grate directly into the yogurt. Mix very well, add salt, pepper and the chopped chive and dill.
  7. Add some vinegar to the water.
  8. Always use fresh, good quality, preferably AA eggs for poaching.
  9. Poach eggs. (if you don’t like poaching, the dish is really good with a very softly fried egg too.
  10. For plating spoon the creamed greens around the plate, leaving a round spot in the middle to fill with yogurt and poached egg.
  11. Spoon the yogurt in the middle, place poached egg on top and garnish.

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I served this dish with a very flavorful and colorful toast with vegan cayenne spiced garlic spread from https://www.majesticgarlic.com/. This has been my favorite spread for 3 years!!!  On top of the garlic spread I had avocado cream, cherry tomatoes and purslane. This is such a pretty combination of really healthy and delicious ingredients.

Enjoy a good breakfast EVERYDAY!

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The best green soup. Watercress.

I have always loved watercress. Its peppery taste, crispiness, so amazing. My favorite pairing is definitely with salmon. I put it raw into salad with smoked salmon, make it into a  puree or foam to have with a piece of sous vide or baked salmon. Never disappoints.

But most importantly it makes a powerful, nutrient dense and easy soup. I have been making this soup for about 10 years, pretty regularly. I saw a recipe once from Raymond Blanc.

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He makes it into a decadent, creamy, thick soup with spinach and some classical French cuisine tricks such as butter 🙂 🙂 🙂 I made it several times and it is amazing. His very important advice, which I always keep whether I make his rich version or a healthier, lighter one, is to saute the leaves only for a short time then boil it with a little stock and immediately add ice cubes instead of water to stop cooking completely, preserving all the nutrients and color. I cook this soup. You can have it raw but the taste will be much stronger and it is advised only if you really like the taste of watercress. Also if you make it raw it is a good idea to add more spinach than in the cooked version, to lighten the flavor.

My version is very easy, takes 15 minutes to prepare the soup. Usually I make my soup with creme fraiche but this time I added some home made almond cream, to keep it vegan. Creme fraiche is the best dairy choice for this soup. Cream would be too heavy, sour cream too tart, creme fraiche is the perfect balance.

So, how to make the soup?  (aka instructions)

First of all wash the watercress and spinach and pat them dry. Chop the white onion or shallots. These are sweeter than yellow onion and suit the soup much better. Sautee the chopped onion on olive oil until becomes translucent then add the watercress and spinach and continue wilting them for a couple of minutes only. Add the vegetable stock. Cook for 2 minutes after boiling and immediately take it off the heat, add some ice cubes to cool it. This will stop the cooking immediately and the soup retains color and nutrients. Pour into your blender, add minced garlic, salt, pepper, almond cream or creme fraiche and blend to desired texture. It is good both with some chunkiness or creamy.

This time I made the soup with lamb’s quarters instead of spinach. I found these leaves at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. It is cultivated in some regions, but the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. It contains the same type of nutrients as spinach, including potassium, vitamin A, C, B6, Magnezium, Calcium,  but in a much grater amount. So it is definitely a recommended leafy vegetable.

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There are endless possibilities for garnishing. You can stick to only a few watercress leaves, you can serve it with a garlicky whole grain toast, some toasted nuts or even crumbled sheep or goat feta, if you eat dairy. If you are lucky to get lamb’s quarters with the purple tiny leaves, you can garnish your soup with it, the color is amazing!

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Ingredients (yields 4)

  • 1 white onion, chopped (or 2 shallotts)
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 cups of watercress
  • 3 cups of lamb’s quarters (or spinach)
  • 2 cups of good quality, low sodium vegetable stock
  • ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoon of almond cream (or creme fraiche if you eat dairy)
  • touch of ground nutmeg
  • himalayan salt, ground black pepper to taste
  • stir in a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.

For garnishing

  • watercress and lamb’s quarters leaves
  • radish flowers, or any edible flowers
  • optional: any toasted nuts / crumbled goat or sheep feta, matcha powder

 

 

 

Green gazpacho with grilled watermelon and goat cheese cream

I was about to make my favorite juice of cucumber, celery, watermelon, mint and lemon juice.

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And while I was looking at the cut vegetables and fruits I just decided to try and make a dish using them instead of juicing. This is how the idea was born.

I made a simple, green gazpacho using the celery and cucumber, added some chopped white onion, a garlic clove and a slice of the watermelon. Seasoned generously with salt, a little bit of lemon juice and a pinch of ground black pepper.

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I wanted to keep the clean freshness of the cucumber and celery. Why? Because of the grilled watermelon. In case you never grilled watermelon before I highly recommend you try it.

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It changes its taste drastically, also the texture is modified. The sugar gets caramelized and intensifies the flavor. It is the richness of the grilled watermelon that made me keep the gazpacho light and not to season it heavily. During grilling I seasoned the watermelon with some salt and cayenne pepper. The touch of heat was so yummy in the sweet, rich watermelon.

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I also made some goat cheese cream because it goes very well with both the watermelon and the greens. Its salty tang is just the perfect extra touch that really makes this simple, healthy, beautiful summer soup…. well, something special. 🙂

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For the vegan version the only change I made is to leave out the goat cheese cream. You can simply make a thick cream of any of your favorite nuts  and drizzle that over the soup. I decided to make the soup creamier with blending soaked cashews into the soup. This is the reason for the different color. This is a quicker way to make the soup, it is up to you how you want to make it.

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If you want to keep the soup raw you will have to skip grilling the watermelon. This will however change the taste completely. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum the watermelon, it will get compressed and its taste will also intensify and the texture will be modified too. This is a good way to make this soup entirely raw but also add something extra to the watermelon.

For garnishing in both soup I used the leaves and blossoms of anise hyssop and arugula oil.

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Anise hyssop has a bit of anise taste so if you don’t like that or just can’t find the herb, mint is a perfect replacement.

Hope you enjoy the version that suits your diet and celebrate the summer with this beauty!

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Ingredients (yields 4)

  • 3 cucumbers
  • 8-10 celery stalks (depending on the size and how much celery taste you like in the soup)
  • 1 thick slice of watermelon
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt, lemon juice, ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon chevre at room temperature (soft goat cheese)
  • 2 tablespoon goat milk (if you substitute with milk it will not have that intense goat chees flavor, but still works)
  • 4 slices of watermelon, keep the rind on while grilling
  • olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Chop all the vegetables and blend well in your blender. Season with salt, black pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. Pour in a container and keep in the fridge to make sure it is cold when serving.
  • For the goat cheese cream, using a fork mix the soft, room temperature chevre with the goat milk and season with salt.
  • Grill the watermelon just before eating the soup. It will be the best warm, off the grill with the cold gazpacho.
  • Brush both sides of the watermelon with olive oil. Season very lightly with salt.
  • Grill one side. While grilling, season it with cayenne pepper lightly, only on the second side.
  • Flip the watermelon and grill the cayenne pepper seasoned side too.
  • For plating pour the soup in shallow bowls, drizzle the cream in spots, add small cubes or triangles of grilled watermelon an sprinkle some chopped anise hyssop or mint or even basil over the soup.

For the vegan version

  • Follow all the steps as above. Leave out the goat cheese cream.
  • For a nut based cream simply blend same amount of soaked nuts with same amount of filtered water and strain. Use the cream as it says above in the instructions.
  • Alternatively if you want to save some time, or prefer, blend 1/2 cup of soaked cashew in the soup and make the soup a creamy texture.

ENJOY!

 

Cheese Cacao and Dessert workshop at Matthew Kenney Culinary

DAY 1 CHEESE

So I decided to come back. I wanted to learn more. To see if I can transform some of my dishes that has dairy into vegan, without losing the character of the dish. I was eager to find out how to make the  fermented and aged cheese, how to temper chocolate and make raw chocolate bars and prepare desserts, using plants only, for cream, pastry sheets or dough. This post a short summary of my experience. Please come back to see my recipes and instructions in the future using fermented, unfermented cheese and making plant based desserts.

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I highly recommend any of the courses at the school, it will open your eyes, show a totally different way of cooking that can be partially or fully implemented in your everyday cooking, making healthier dishes all the time.

I love cheese. And I do eat cheese. A lot. And I am also a chef. A very open one. And I do respect all kinds of views on diets. I may not see them right, may not share them but respect them. The reason I am interested in vegan and raw cooking is not because I am planning to convert myself. It is rather my curiosity for everything in the culinary world and my desire to create delicious, enjoyable and beautiful food using different ingredients.

So when I heard about fermented tree nut cheese production I was totally intrigued. Fermentation is a favorite thing of mine. Mainly because of the taste. Kombucha, kimchi, love them all.

VEGAN CHEESE

UNFERMENTED

In the previous class, ( https://bornunderthesun.com/2016/06/06/a-day-in-the-world-of-plant-based-raw-cooking )  we already learnt how to make unfermented cheese. You can make a vegan cheese using any kinds of nut trees however it is rare that walnuts or pecans would be used and they are not suitable for fermentation at all.

During this workshop we made both fermented and unfermented cheese. Started off making an unfermented cheese using macadamia and prepare a raw beet ravioli for lunch with this ricotta like tree nut cheese.

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Walnut pesto and  basil oil was also added to the dish and resulted in a beautiful, colorful plate of food.

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You can try making this ravioli with any kinds of root vegetables. In any case you have to slice the vegetable very thin on a mandolin and drizzle with salt and olive oil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

 

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FERMENTED

As opposed to unfermented cheese, the fermented one will have a pungent flavor and does require time for fermentation 24-48hours, not longer to avoid molding. A dehydrator is used for fermentation, however it can also be done in your cupboard 🙂 at a constant temperature, not cold, not hot. Without introducing bacteria fermentation will not take place so for this reason you will need to add some probiotics to the cheese if you want to ferment it.

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Then in 1-2 days when you open your little bag of fermented tree nut cheese, crust will be seen on the surface,

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and your fermented cheese is ready to be seasoned, formed, eaten or ready for ageing if that is what you want.

At the workshop we made a macadamia and cashew fermented cheese and rolled it into a log, coated with chopped herbs and it is the vegan version of an herbed chèvre.

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On second day, after 24 hours of fermentation we used this chèvre to make a simple salad for lunch which consisted of arugula, apple, candied walnuts and a sherry vinaigrette. A fresh, flavorful salad, which has a good balance of sweet, tart and savory.

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DAY 2 CACAO and DESSERT

Cacao. Chocolate. These are the words that make everybody say hmmmmmm. Nobody I know has problems eating them. But there is a difference. Difference between processed, not raw, or even milk chocolate. I know many people love them. I also used to. But not anymore. Quite a few years ago I started eating dark chocolate. It was a very important part of my diet and that was almost the only sweet thing I consumed. Gradually my taste buds adjusted completely and since then I can not eat milk chocolate.

So I was really excited to see how raw chocolate is made and taste something which was so pure, natural and had amazing taste and also so good for us.

There was a cacao tempering demo by Alice and we had a chance to make our own raw chocolate “bars”. It was soooo good to put what I wanted in my chocolate bar instead of putting up with someone else’s choice when buying the chocolate at the store 🙂 So I made one for myself with pink peppercorn, goji berries and pumpkin seeds and also made my husband his favorite flavors, sour cherry with pistachio. Not only tasted good, looked insanely pretty but also it is pure goodness for you.

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On day 1 we mixed together  vanilla almond macaroons and after these pretty little things spent a day in the dehydrator we took them out and enjoyed the quenelles of pure raw goodness at home. I must admit. I was not overly excited about this one. But oh, how good these were with my coffee in the morning!!! And provided all the necessary energy for the start of the day.

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And then this happened. My favorite part.

I love cooking and I am a chef. So for me making complex dishes is fun. This Napoleon here is not the dessert that you will mix up in 10 seconds and that’s it ….ready…. Oh no. As you can see there are a few things going on on that plate.

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First off. The Napoleon has layers of “pastry” sheets. These sheets were made with cashews and macadamias and the binding agent,  as pretty common in vegan baking, is flax meal. Pictured below. It was hard to believe that this will hold, but the flax meal and the dehydrator definitely made a good job!

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macadamia pastry

In between the layers there is a chocolate sheet too, which is pure cacao powder and cacao butter with some flavoring. To make the dessert a bit lighter, this Napoleon has fresh strawberries and also served with a simple puree of strawberries. And that perfect scoop of ice cream looking thing is chantilly cream made with cashews, coconut meat, almond milk and flavorings. It is the tastiest vegan thing I ever tried, for sure!

 

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Although I am not vegan I totally respect the decision of people who decide to follow this route. Everything that I learnt at Matthew Kenney Culinary helped me to see and understand how tree nuts can be used to transform dishes into vegan and how amazingly endless opportunities these nuts provide for vegans. It is an exciting revelation for me because it will let me create freely in the vegan world the same way as in any other one. And yes, sometimes my dishes look too pretty to eat them, but look! Pretty even while eating! 🙂

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Fermented, tree nut cheese and market veggies with a warm sherry wine and raisins dressing

I came up with this dish because I had some leftover fermented cheese from the production at Matthew Kenney Culinary. (Please note if you don’t have fermented nut cheese ready, you can not make this dish on the spot. Fermented cheese needs to be made 2 days before.) I also had some market veggies I bought at the market a few days ago. Baby corn, summer squash and these beautiful heirloom romanesco. Also known as Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower and it is a type of brassica.

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heirloom romanesco

All these veggies are great with nuts, especially almonds, onions, garlic and they go well with a bit of sweetness too. Since the fermented cheese had a bit of tang as a result of the fermentation I decided to go for a warm, sweet dressing.

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plated salad

For this salad you will need to pan roast the vegetables, make a warm dressing and have some kind of tree nut cheese ready to serve with. If you are not vegan this dish is amazing with goat chevre!

Ingredients (yields 4)

  • some kind of fermented or unfermented tree nut cheese or for not vegans herbed goat chevre
  • olive oil
  • 2 green or/and yellow zucchini (medium), chopped into small cubes
  • 8 baby corns, sliced same thickness as the zucchini
  • 3-4 small heirloom romanesco or 1/4 big romanesco or cauliflower cut into small pieces.
  • 1 big or 2 small shallots, slices
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of cherry wine
  • instead of the white wine vinegar and cherry wine you can use sherry vinegar about 3 tbsp but make sure you boil it out a little bit, so it is not that strong. I used the wine and the vinegar so I get a deep flavor without way too much vinegary taste)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp sliced toasted almond
  • some fennel flowers/pollen,(or just fennel fronds if you don’t have the others)
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fennel flowers, pollen and sliced almonds

Components of the dish

Pan roasted vegetables

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close up of the salad

Simply chop whatever vegetables you have at home, but it is really good with baby corn, summer squash and romanesco or cauliflower. Heat some olive oil and quickly pan roast the vegetables for just 5 minutes on high heat. At the end of cooking, season with salt and black pepper. Not during cooking because salt will bring moisture out of the veggies and instead of the nice roasting it will just steam… Set vegetables aside, keep them warm for plating.

Warm sherry wine and raisins dressing

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sherry wine and raisins dressing

Slice shallots and quickly sautee them on some olive oil. Add the raisin, splash of white wine vinegar and some sherry wine. Season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes only. Taste and season to your liking with adding more heat or a splash of lemon juice or even agave if you want sweeter. You want to end up with a pretty strong, peppery, spicy, sweet dressing.

Fermented herb chevre made with macadamia and cashew

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herbed chevre made with macadamia and cashews

If you want to use fermented cheese, you have to make that a few days earlier. This is a an adapted recipe from  Matthew Kenney, the flavoring is adjusted the way I made it at the workshop.

In a blender mix all these ingredients until smooth, then put it in a cheesecloth, wrap tightly and ferment in a dehydrator for a day or in the back of your kitchen cupboard (without opening the door) for 2 days.

  • 1/2cup soaked macadamia
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashew
  • 2 tbsp water
  • the content of 1 capsule acidophilus (this is the probiotic that needed for fermentation)
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cheese ready for fermentation

After fermentation flavor the cheese with

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp lemon juise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or instead of the salt and garlic powder you can use garlic salt)

Then roll the flavored cheese into a log and cover with chopped, mixed herb of your liking.

Assemble the dish

  1. Put all the vegetables in a big bowl and gradually add the dressing, mixing carefully and tasting. Add as much dressing as you want but make sure it does not overpower the great taste of the veggies.
  2. Slice the cheese.
  3. Place a few slices of cheese on each plate and spoon the dressed vegetables around.
  4. Sprinkle the almond all over and finally
  5. Decorate with fresh chopped dill or whole baby dill springs and the fennel flowers, or fronds.
  6. Don’t forget to have a glass of chilled white crispy wine with it! 🙂

 

ENJOY and please let me know if you want to know more or have any comments!

 

 

That amazing panzanella

Just in case you never heard about this salad. Originates in Tuscany and predominantly consists of stale bread and tomatoes.

Just like so many great, simple dishes this one is a result of using leftover. Bread that can not be used otherwise anymore, and needs some moisture to bring back to life. And what is better for that than beautiful, ripe, juicy, flavorful in season tomatoes?

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In this version I grilled some ingredients, to give it a bit of extra flavor and more suitable for those barbecue days.

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Ingredients

  • stale bread
  • ripe, juicy tomatoes, any kind (best with heirloom )
  • red onion – both grilled and fresh
  • garlic
  • fresh basil leaves
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • shaved parmesan

You can also add fresh cucumbers or grilled zucchini if you want. But it has to be mainly all about the tomatoes.

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Instructions

  1. Cut the red onions in half and grill them. (If you cut them any smaller, they will easily fall apart and difficult to handle.)
  2. Drizzle olive oil on the stale bread and season with salt.
  3. Grill the bread.
  4. While the bread and onion is cooling down, chop the tomatoes into big chunks, if you use cherry tomatoes too, only half those.
  5. Put all the tomatoes in a big bowl, season GENEROUSLY with salt, add ground black pepper, minced garlic (use only one clove for about 4 portions), good splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil and chiffonade basil leaves. Mix it with your hands, carefully not to break the tomatoes too much and let it sit for 5-10 minutes so that you get juice out of those tomatoes.
  6. Then add the grilled, chopped red onion and the grilled bread cut or torn into similar sizes as your tomatoes.
  7. Let it sit again for about 10 minutes so the bread can start soaking up the good juice but will not get oversoaked!
  8. Finish it off with fresh basil leaves and shaved parmesan.

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Serve this salad as a side dish at your barbecue. It will be great by itself or with steak, shrimps and even chicken! Enjoy and have a great July 4th weekend!