Monday, December 5, 2011


This very simple, moist and fresh bread salad from Tuscany is sure to brighten up your table this winter.  With all the fresh ingredients and a home-made vinaigrette you are sure to dazzle your family and friends. 
Serves 8-10

For the croutons:
6 cups day-old bread, crust removed, cubed ( I like ciabatta)

Put the bread on a sheet pan. 

1/4 olive oil, maybe less
Drizzle with olive oil and toss. 
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Add Tuscan and Parmesan cheese.  Toss thoroughly.
Bake stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool. 

4 large vine ripened tomatoes, cut into large cubes or wedges
1 1/4 cups thinly sliced red onions
1 cup drained roasted red bell pepper strips
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
1-2 cucumbers, sliced and quartered
1/4 cup drained capers

In a large bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives, cucumbers and capers.

2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Italian extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar and oil. Pour the dressing over the bread salad and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed, washed and spun dry, turn into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the basil and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine. Serve.

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