Homegrown Tomatoes & Bread, Roasted & Toasted Salad

Heirloom tomatoes

“Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What’d life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
And that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes”

(“Homegrown Tomatoes” was written by Guy Clark, go to end of post for You Tube video)

That about says it all doesn’t it?
I remember the first time I ever heard Guy Clark sing this song and I was just thrilled…here was someone writing songs about real things that I knew about.  I am still sure to this day that I know lots more about tomatoes than love! Love and homegrown tomatoes which is something none of us can get to much of. Isn’t that the truth?
Middle Tennessee is having a bumper crop of tomatoes. My own little “gardenette” has lots of ‘maters on the vine…in all stages of ripeness. Here is a salad I tossed together last weekend with some of my wee homegrowns, lemon thyme, Genovese basil leaves just picked.

I cut the larger wee tomatoes in half and put them all on a baking sheet, drizzling good olive oil and sprinkling with crunchy sea salt.

Tomatoes ready for roasting

As an afterthought I added a few garlic cloves & some thyme sprigs.

heirloom tomatoes ready for roasting

20 minutes or so of roasting at 400 degrees F does the trick. The tomatoes become slightly browned and collapse somewhat. The garlic is mashably soft. Into a bowl they go.

Roasted Tomatoes

I cut the dried baguette into large chunks & placed it on the same roasting pan with the leftover garlic & thyme pieces. Pop this back into the oven for a few minutes to crisp. I let the bread cool slightly before tossing in the bowl with the tomatoes. This salad is best made ahead to let the bread soak up some of the juice and chilled or served at room temperature.

Roasted Tomato & Bread Salad

The evening we ate this salad for supper it was 93 degrees here in Nashville.

This simple tomato and bread salad, sometimes referred to as a Panzanella salad, served with a bottle of crisp, cold wine had the needed cooling effect. This heat we have been having is “nothin’ a homegrown tomato won’t cure”.

Panzanella Salad

Homegrown Tomatoes & Crispy Bread Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print



  • 1 lb of homegrown tomatoes, small or large cut into smaller pieces
  • fresh thyme & basil leaves
  • 3 cloves peeled garlic
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • good quality olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • freshly grated Parmesan Cheese for finishing off
  • additional basil leaves for garnish
  • “Old” Bread…baguettes work great, cut into cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Scatter tomatoes on a baking sheet, add garlic cloves & thyme sprigs.
  3. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Dust with sea salt & black pepper.
  4. Put pan in hot oven & roast tomatoes for about 20 minutes or until they just begin to char & collapse. Remove from oven & scrape tomatoes & juices into a bowl.
  5. Add red wine vinegar & about 1/2 cup torn basil leaves into the bowl & toss well.
  6. Add bread cubes to the same baking pan, toss bread in any leftover oil. Bake for about 5 minutes to crisp. Remove from oven. Let cool.
  7. Add cooled bread to the mixing bowl with the tomatoes & basil. At this point you can serve at room temp or pop in the refrigerator to chill for later.
  8. To serve add a generous portion of freshly grated parmesan cheese & more torn pieces of basil and a glass of cold, crisp white wine!

recipe and photos by Teresa Blackburn      foodonfifth.com    teresablackburnfoodstyling.com  

photo 1

Click on the below link for Guy Clark singing “Homegrown Tomatoes”.

25 thoughts on “Homegrown Tomatoes & Bread, Roasted & Toasted Salad

  1. No homegrown tomatoes for m this year, we are on water rationing and they never really grow that well near the ocean. But I can get the best homegrown tomatoes from my friend Robert. When I get back from Europe I will make this delicious looking salad .

  2. Teresa this salad is right gorgeous girl! I live for Panzanella salad in the Summer time. I even grill my bread and anything that needs cooking so I don’t have to turn on the oven……. 90 degrees is INSANITY. I love that you roasted the tom toms – it’s ridiculously and sultry(ly) delicious looking. I love it. Nicely done.

    1. Kristy I appreciate your very nice comments. Suddenly we have a weather respite! It is only 82 today and feels marvelous. I am often jealous of the weather you have where you live. But we do have good tomatoes due to the scorching heat! That is worth it I suppose.

  3. I have been going to farmers mkt. two or three times a week for Bradley and heirlooms they are wonderful right now. I made a fresh tomato sauce today with basil and garlic. perfect. My favorite thing about Summer

  4. that’s one of my favorite salads, I also add dried black olives to it and I use balsamic instead of red wine vinegar as I find it has a more robust flavor for the salad.

    1. Yes Marian I usually do add a splash of Balsamic, but I am trying to get out of my “balsamic box” and going back to try some old standard flavors. The red wine vinegar really added a crispness to this salad that a heavier balsamic does not. But either one is just fantastic with all these summer ingredients. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Much appreciated.

    1. Emily Grace, thanks you so much for your nice compliment. I am lucky in that the light in the house I live in is just pretty fantastic all day long, all seasons. So some of my lighting is all nature’s work, with a bit of help from me.

    1. Nance it really is the most fantastic year for tomatoes here in the South. Early rains, lots of warm nights have just absolutely given us all bumper crops in our little city gardens. Can you imagine what folks out in the country wake up to every day in their tomato patches? I know that I do love them and will eat as many as I can this summer and remember then fondly in the future in the not-so-good-mater-crop summers.
      Panzanella salads are perfect for hot summer days and we bloggers seem to be in synch when it comes to variations on this salad that can only be made with good homegrowns in my opinion.
      Your salad looks wonderful as you know I am just crazy about anything with cornbread in it. Our fellow blogger Charles Hunter over at “Local Forkful” just posted another version of our beloved Panzanella salad.
      Lovely tomato photos my dear.

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