Thursday, August 19, 2010
Dude. Bread Salad. Wow.
I don't know why I've never made it before, but I'll definitely be making it again. Sometime at the beginning of this decade I ripped a recipe out of a magazine. I have no idea which magazine, but this torn out little tidbit of a recipe has resided in my recipe folder for years. I stumbled across it early this summer and stuck it to my fridge. Last night, I made it my own. I used homemade focaccia bread and vine ripened tomatoes from a neighbor's garden. We grilled out burgers and sweet corn, but I was happy with just the bread salad.
I began by making the dressing. It's basically a balsamic vinaigrette. First chop 2-3 shallots and add 3 tablespoons of honey.
Then add 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend or whisk until combined.
Continue to whisk or blend while drizzling in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of olive oil until the dressing is thick. I used my Cuisinart CSB-76BC SmartStick 200-Watt Immersion Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome. It's awesome for making dressing!
Cut up half a loaf of focaccia bread (or more if the focaccia is small) and spread it out on a baking sheet. My fluffy homemade focaccia bread made for some excellent bread cubes! Put the sheet into a 350 degree oven and toast the bread for 8 minutes.
While the bread toasts, cut up 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of assorted ripe tomatoes and slice half of a red onion. Toss them into a bowl.
Add in the toasted focaccia chunks.
Then pour on the dressing.
Now for some basil. I'm not sure what was up with my basil. When purchased, it was a nice green color. When I pulled it out of the fridge for this recipe, it was suspiciously darker. But it wasn't slimy, like it was rotting. It also still smelled and tasted like basil should, so I went ahead and used it. Anyone know why my basil was discolored? Tis' a puzzlement.
I chopped it up and threw it on top of my salad before tossing.
This salad is best served immediately, but it was just as good for a midnight snack and again today at lunch. You know what might make it even better? A little parmigiano-reggiano grated over the top. YUM!
Tomato and Bread Salad
Makes: 8 servings Prep: 15 minutes
1/2 loaf focaccia bread, cut into 1/2 in. cubes (I prefer rosemary focaccia, but use whatever you like)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2-3 shallots, minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cut up
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place focaccia on a baking sheet. Place in oven for 8 minutes or until nicely toasted. Set aside. Whisk or blend together shallots, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil and whisk or blend until thick. Combine tomatoes, onion, and toasted bread. Pour on the dressing and toss. Garnish with basil. Salt and pepper to taste.