I recently returned from a month in Italy and it turned out to be a very hot stay! With temperatures over a hundred degrees for weeks on end and no air conditioning, I wasn’t very motivated to spend much time cooking in the kitchen. However, we did go out a lot as we have many great local restaurants, and our outdoor grill got a lot of use. One salad I made a few times over my stay with family was this tasty Tuscan one made with bread, ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions. After dressing the salad, I break up some creamy burrata cheese to top the salad just before serving. This salad is an excellent option for lunch, as a dinner side dish, and with grilled meat.
Traditionally this salad is made with stale bread because Italians tend to be thrifty and hate to throw anything out. If you do not have stale bread, you can toast bread cubes in the oven until they are very dry. Ciabatta or a Tuscan unsalted bread works best in this salad. I use a variety of tomatoes in this salad depending on what is ripe in the garden at the time. Both cherry tomatoes or large beefsteak tomatoes would work; just cut into bite-sized pieces.
Deborah Mele 2022
- 2 1/2 Pounds Ripe Tomatoes Cut Into Bite Sized Pieces
- 6 Cups 1 1/2 inch Cubes of Bread (Ciabatta or Rustic Italian Bread Work Best)
- 1 Small Red Onion, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- 1 1/2 Cups Thinly Sliced Cucumber
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves
- 6 Ounces Burrata Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread the bread cubes onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until crisp and firm but not brown.
- Cool the bread cubes to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- In a large bowl place the bread cubes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and basil.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.
- Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Let salad rest 30 minutes, toss again and then place in a large bowl, or individual bowls.
- Break up the burrata and place pieces on top of the salad before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 716Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 1052mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 7gSugar: 13gProtein: 23g