There are various approaches to this dish, but I like to ‘sacrifice’ about two-thirds of the tomatoes by sieving them into a fresh pulp, to soak into the bread with the rest of the dressing. Then I add more tomatoes, perhaps a different variety, along with the rest of the ingredients. The tomatoes must be sweet and ripe.
- Put the 700g of tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them with your hands. Tip them into a sieve over a bowl and rub through. Discard the skin and pips. Add the oil, vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper.
- For the bread use 300-400g (about ½ small loaf) slightly stale sourdough, ciabatta or good country bread. Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks, put into a large bowl and pour over the tomato dressing. Add the olives, cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into thick half-moons), onion (finely sliced), cherry tomatoes halved or other tomatoes chopped, capers (drained and rinsed) and basil, then season well with salt and pepper and toss with your hands.
- Leave the salad to stand for up to 20 minutes if possible to allow the flavours to develop, then toss again and leave for a few minutes before serving.