Monday, August 6, 2012

Bread Salad

The Italians are ingenious about using up their bounty of tomatoes and any leftover bread. Panzanella, or bread salad, uses tomatoes and french bread to create a cool salad when you're wanting something other than lettuce.

                     Panzanella - Italian Bread Salad

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 loaf  french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon  kosher or sea salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2  red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20  large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the Vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup good olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil and capers.  Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

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