Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bread Salad, take 2

I was hoping to be able to make this a little later with some glorious tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers from my own garden, but I have been thwarted. The peppers are still flowers, the cucumbers are about the size of a toothpick with a flower on the end, and half the tomatoes have been eaten by some sort of insect. Damn the garden gods! Next year I will actually read about this before randomly sticking plants in pots and hoping for the best.

More than anything I have ever made, this is the recipe that people ask about the most. Here is my best shot of writing it down, but please note, that this is one of those things that you can change based on what you like and what you have around with no problems at all. It's really more of a guideline than a rule.

1 loaf sourdough bread cut into 1 inch cubes (I also use French or Italian based on what's available. I would not recommend using a baguette if for no other reason that it would be a huge pain to cut into pieces. You also want something with a little more middle of the loaf than a baguette would have.)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved and salted (Just put the cut tomatoes in a bowl with a pinch of salt, stir well, and let sit for about 15 minutes. This helps bring out the tomato flavor and gets some of the water pulled out. Any type of tomato would work and using different colored tomatoes just adds to the beauty of the salad.)
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into pieces
1/2 red onion, finely diced
8-12 0z of mozzarella, cut into cubes (You can also use the mini mozzarella balls whose name is escaping me.)
1/3 c. basil, cut into thin strips
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 c. + 1 Tb. olive oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tb. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Place bread cubes and all crumbs from cutting them, onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the cubes with 1 Tb. olive oil. Sprinkle dried herbs and garlic powder evenly over the bread with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Toss together until cubes are well coated. You want to make sure to use the garlic powder and dried herbs instead of fresh because the fresh will burn while baking. Bake the cubes for 7 - 15 minutes until crisp, but not rock hard. Shake the tray occasionally to ensure none burn. When fully cooked, let them cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine remainder of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and fresh garlic. Stir until well combined and set aside.
In a large bowl place (in this order) red onion, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella. The salad can sit for about an hour in the fridge until the cubes cool. Add the bread cubes, drizzle with dressing, and toss well. Add basil and toss again. Taste the bread cubes and adjust seasoning as necessary. Depending on the bread, you may need additional dressing. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

You can also add capers or black olives, if desired. I generally stay away from this, but it's a personal choice. You can also add pieces of cooked chicken if you'd like a bit heavier salad. This holds up really well for about two days in the fridge, but Matt will never eat it the day after. He thinks it tastes funny, but I think he's crazy.


Anonymous said...

For the record, this is my favorite salad EVER.

Ever. That includes the macaroni salads I was brought up on, the recipes for which stay in the the family because otherwise no one would eat the salads.

Anonymous said...

I made this on the weekend...I didn't have a great deal of time, juggling the baby and bath etc so I guessed at the amounts for the dressing (I shouldn't guess), and I meant to halve it and add chicken but I think I only halved some ingredients and not others...BUT it was still delicious! I took a photo for you to make sure it looked right... Now I want more recipes and ideas please.

Can we link to you on our blog so my mum can get the recipe??

Why is there a wheelchair next to the word verification box?


I Hate Swiss Chard said...

Glad you enjoyed. It's really easy, but it's so good. I think that I could almost live off of it in the summer.

You're welcome to link to me. I'm hoping to keep adding more recipes over the next few weeks.

I have no idea why you have a wheelchair. Maybe because you're special.

Anonymous said...

The wheelchair is an accessibility convention. If you're blind, you won't see the captcha verification picture.

I don't know how they expect a blind person to know where to type the comment before that bit, though.

Cat said...

Or where the wheelchair is to click on it?

Anonymous said...