Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tuscan Bread Salad

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This is one of my favorite salads to take to potlucks as it is so colorful and has many different textures and flavors in it. Be sure that the baguette is day old, slightly stale, as it will hold up better when the dressing is added. You can even toast the bread cubes in the oven for a few minutes if your bread if very fresh and soft. This salad is a meal in itself. I could eat just this for dinner! Simply delicious.

Ingredients:

4 cups seedy baguette, cut in 1” cubes
4 tomatoes, chopped
½ green bell pepper
½ yellow bell pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
½ cup Greek olives, pitted
1 cup feta or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Dressing:
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Toss salad with dressing 30 min. before serving, so that the dressing soaks into the bread. The best bread to use is a seedy baguette or bread that has a crispy hard crust. If your bread is too fresh, it will become soggy in the salad. You can bake the bread cubes in a 300 degree oven for 8 minutes to make them firmer, if you wish.

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