Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bread Salad #2: Sicilian Style

This bread salad recipe sounded just as delicious as the first, which is what prompted me to create the contest. However, during the assembly process, I was becoming skeptical, especially over the green pesto sauce mixed with balsamic. Ignore those thoughts and stick with it, as this recipe did not disappoint. A definite keeper!

Unfortunately, we have a draw for our contest. Drat. What can I say, we liked them both! Which means we have two equally good bread salad recipes to call-on, depending on what ingredients we have available to use up, or our preference for the night. Not a bad way to end the contest.

The two recipes are very different, as this sicilian recipe includes lettuce, garbanzo beans and a pesto sauce. But both are very easy, and can be prepared/served in under 20 minutes.

Tim thought this recipe so scrumptious, he said it could have been the meal itself. In that case, I'd recommend adding some additional protein, like fresh mozzarella. It has chickpeas, but I think you'd want a little something extra. And fresh, cold mozzarella on a summer day... nothing better.

If you decide to make either of the bread salad recipes (click here for the classic recipe), be sure to let me know what you think. Be forewarned, both recipes makes a large salad. I halved them, which probably would have been the perfect amount for 4 adults as a side salad, or 2 adults as the main dish.

Sicilian Style Bread Salad
from Allrecipes

8 ounces country style white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used a kalamata olive wheat bread)
3 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil (I used regular)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups red or yellow teardrop tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 small red onion, cut into 3/4 inch slices
10 kalamata olives, pitted and halved (I used green)
1/3 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (I left this out)
1 head green or red leaf lettuce
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cut onion, and place in small bowl with balsamic vinegar for up to 10 minutes. While the onions are soaking, start to cut your other vegetables.

Once other vegetables are prepared, strain the onions into a larger salad bowl and reserve your balsamic vinegar. Toss together the onion, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, peppers, and kalamata olives.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pesto, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and pepper. Toss the tomato mixture with the pesto sauce, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil to evenly coat. Sprinkle with salt, and toss again. Spread the cubed bread evenly over a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
* Because I used regular olive oil, I sprinkled the bread with garlic powder and skipped the salt. No more than 1/4 teaspoon. I also toasted the bread under the broiler, which took less time (about 5 minutes total, stirring occasionally).

To serve, toss the toasted bread cubes and goat cheese with the tomato mixture. Line a serving platter with a few lettuce leaves. Shred the remaining lettuce, and add to your tomato/bread mixture. Mound the salad in the center of the platter. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Other thoughts: Either bread salad recipe would be a great pot-luck dish. Mix your veggies together in a portable salad bowl, bring your crispy bread in a ziplock sack (keep separate to prevent it getting soft), and the dressing in a tupperware container. Mix on-site, and your ready to rock!

Guten appetit!


Grace said...

Hi! I am a high school friend of Jamie's and I have been reading your blog via hers. I have to say that I am not a vegetarian, but I have really enjoyed your recipes! They have given me lots of ideas for dinners! Thanks!

laura said...

Thanks grace! That's super nice to hear. Have a good weekend.