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This is a refreshing summer salad. Most likely, this salad was invented as a way to use up bread that was going stale.

Note that the amounts are approximate. The key to this salad is to use quality ingredients, like your best olive oil and nicely ripened tomatoes.

The following recipe makes 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS

Toasted Bread:

  • 1 loaf 2-day-old country Italian or sourdough bread
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 1 container red grape tomatoes halved, or 4-5 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded & chopped
  • 1⁄2 container yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup pitted & halved olives, or 1/3 cup rinsed
  • capers
  • chopped fresh basil, to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley, to taste
  • salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Trim some of the crust from the bread, but not all, and then cut into large crouton size pieces. Toss with a little bit of olive oil, spread on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven until lightly toasted, approx. 5-15 minutes (check every 5 minutes so the bread doesn’t get overly toasted). Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Whisk together the garlic, red wine vinegar, 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, gently toss together the bread cubes, tomato, cucumber, red onion, and olives. Season the salad with fresh basil (approx. 2 tablespoons), fresh parsley (approx. 1 tablespoon), salt and pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad (you may not use all of it) and gently toss to coat all the ingredients. Let the salad sit for about 20-30 minutes before serving, so the bread soaks up some of the dressing, but not until it’s soggy.
  4. Taste before serving and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with additional basil or parsley.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Mike Newman

Barbara Walch

Barbara Walch joined the staff of Plano Profile in August 1986 and currently serves as Food Editor and Associate Publisher, Community Relations. In addition to writing Dining In, a monthly food feature,...