Recipe by Emily Blount, St. Leo, Oxford
10 ounces tomatoes, cut, assorted
(grape, sungold, heirlooms)
¼ cup cucumber, sliced into half moons, de-seeded
½ cup basil, large chiffonade
¼ cup mint, medium chiffonade
¼ cup parsley, flat leaf
1 Tablespoon red onion, sliced
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 Tablespoons EVOO
2 slices bread, grilled, torn into 2- to 3-inch pieces
3 pinches salt
1 pinch pepper
In a large bowl add tomatoes and cucumbers and season with 1 pinch of salt. Add herbs, vinegar, oil and toss. Add bread and toss so it soaks up the dressing.
Saint Leo opened on Jackson Avenue East just off Oxford’s idyllic courthouse square in June 2016. The wood-fired Italian restaurant, with its sleek, city style quickly garnered national attention as a 2017 James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant” semifinalist.
Saint Leo is the brainchild of owner Emily Blount, a California native who married a Mississippian and is raising two boys here. The restaurant serves up brunch, lunch, dinner and specialty cocktails with an emphasis on locally grown and simple, from-scratch cooking.
“I did a lot of research for Saint Leo,” Blount said. “I traveled to many different restaurants around the country; I went to a Neapolitan pizza-making school in Los Angeles. I did a workshop with the Union Square Hospitality Group in NYC. I wrote and re-wrote a business plan endlessly so I could be as clear as possible about my vision.”
Today, Blount works a few shifts each week as manager while handling all other aspects of her business, including accounting, training new employees and special events.
“I love to bring people to the table to break bread together over food that is truly delicious,” she said.