Italian Tomato and Bread Salad for 6
With summer tomatoes about to arrive, try this Italian comfort salad that is an easy-to-make show stopper!
What You’ll Need:
6 large very ripe tomatoes (2 to 3 pounds)
12 ounces Ciabatta bread or Pan Rustique (firm country-style white bread), cubed
3/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 to 4 garlic cloves or more to taste, minced or pressed in a garlic press
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, plus whole sprigs for garnish
¼ cup capers, drained
1 cup jarred (drained) or fresh roasted red bell pepper strips
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata or Mediterranean olives, halved lengthwise
Fresh mozzarella (optional)
- Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. If your tomatoes are home-grown and do not have an abundance of seeds, omit this step.
- Cut tomatoes into 1-inch cubes.
- Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch pieces. Toast the bread in a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until bread is dry and a golden toasty brown. Let it cool.
NOTE: You need a firm bread that will not become mushy when dressed; choose bread that is a day or two old to start and then toast it nicely in the oven. This will keep your salad from becoming soupy.
- In a large bowl, whisk oil and vinegar, the garlic, salt and pepper to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Add the bread cubes, tomatoes, and sliced basil, capers, olives and peppers and toss to combine.
- Set aside until the bread absorbs the vinaigrette, tossing occasionally, about 5 minutes. If you are using Mozzarella, add it now. Season the salad with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover the salad and let stand at room temperature for the flavors to blend, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Drizzle the salad with a little more olive oil prior to serving. Add another grind of pepper and a little sprinkling of finishing salt, then garnish with fresh basil sprigs and serve this lovely salad.