Tomatoes, of course, take center stage in the classic Tuscan bread salad. Joe Beck's version uses sourdough baguettes and firm picholine olives to vary the texture. Serve this salad as an appetizer or light lunch.
- 1/2 sourdough baguette, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 peeled and mashed clove garlic
- 1/3 cup red onion, cut in julienne (very thin strips), soaked in water and dranined
- 1/4 cup picholine olives, pitted and halved
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 bunch basil
- 1 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes, smaller ones cut into thick slices and larger ones cut into wedges
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the pieces of baguette with 1/4 cup of the oil. Toast until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes per side. Let cool.
In a medium serving bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, red onion, olives, mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fifteen minutes before serving, rip the basil into small pieces and add it to the bowl along with the tomato, toasted bread and cucumber. Toss to coat and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
Adapted from Joe Beck, executive chef at Susan Gage Caterers.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.