Monday, July 28, 2008

Bread Salad #1: Classic

The contest has begun, and Bread Salad #1 (aka: the 'classic' version) was a hit! Tim cleaned the plate, and I had quite a few scrumptious bites as well.

While I've had bread salad in restaurants before, this was a new experience for Tim. He was thoroughly confused and skeptical when I said there was no lettuce in the salad. But one bite is all it took, and he's a newly discovered bread salad fan. So if you have a newbie in the house like me, don't be deterred when you get that quizzical look over your menu choice. This is definitely a keeper.

And for us in the kitchen, it was very easy, fun to make and good to mix-up the usual routine of leafy salads. Definitely give it a shot this summer! Especially while you can pick fresh veggies from your garden (I'm talking to you, Lori).

Classic Bread Salad
adapted from Allrecipes

1 clove garlic
1 loaf bread - can be italian, french, olive, rye, etc. And stale is also OK!
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2-3/4 cup olives (black or green)
1 cup cucumber - peeled, seeded and chopped (I didn't 'seed' ours and it was fine)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups chopped fresh basil (I used less, as tim is not a big fan of 'green stuff', but he didnt say a word and again, loved the salad)
1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Pre-heat oven to medium-high broiler.

Cut and chop your red onion, then soak in the balsamic vinegar (up to 10 minutes).

Rub a peeled clove of garlic over bread.
Pull apart or chop the bread into bite-size pieces. Place on cookie sheet, without overlapping the bread. Place in middle rack of the oven, and lightly crisp (approximately 3-4 minutes). Be sure to mix/stir the bread around every 1-2 minutes, so as to brown evenly and not burn. TIP: bread should not be as hard as a crouton, and still have a little softness.

Drain the onion from the vinegar, saving the vinegar. TIP: soaking the onion in vinegar seemed to remove some of the 'bite'. (thanks for the info, skye!)

In a salad bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, red onions, basil and thyme.

If you have other food to prepare, do so now and allow the herbs and vegetables to set.
If you are ready to serve: Add the bread to your herb/vegetable mix. Combine your olive oil and vinegar and pour over the salad to lightly coat. Toss and serve.


Some additions you can make to the salad: 1 sliced/ripe avocado, 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1 sliced bell pepper.

Guten appetit!

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