Andy Nusser teases apart all the elements of a traditional Spanish gazpacho—tomatoes, vinegar, bread and olive oil—to recombine them in a summery salad with real zing. He candies cherry tomatoes in a cinnamon-and-chile-spiked syrup. "I like how they explode like water balloons and taste like Red Hots," he says. Sea beans, crisp marine sprigs resembling slender green beans, add a salty crunch.
More Terrific Salads
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
One 2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
One 3 1/2-inch piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound sea beans, thick ends trimmed (see Note)
1 cucumber—peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
How to Make It
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cut a slit in the base of each tomato. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and blanch them until the skins start to split, about 15 seconds. Drain the tomatoes, then transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and peel the tomatoes, then transfer them to a small bowl.
In the same saucepan, combine the water, sugar, salt, red pepper and cinnamon stick; simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves. Strain the syrup over the tomatoes and let stand until cool, 45 minutes. Drain, discarding the syrup.
Preheat the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the sea beans and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and cool under running water, then pat dry.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, croutons, sea beans, cucumber, scallions, vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve.