PANZANELLA (ITALIAN BREAD SALAD)
This is one of my all-time favorite salads. If you have a great fresh-from-the-garden cucumber around, you might try adding it to the ingredients below. Seed it first, chop it into bite-sized pieces -- what's not to like?
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch salt
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups 3/4-inch cubes crusty bread
1 pound vine-ripened red tomatoes, cut into 3 / 4-inch wedges
1 pound vine-ripened yellow tomatoes, cut into 3 / 4-inch wedges
1/2 cup nicoise or kalamata olives (really, whatever type you like best will work well)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed well, spun dry and chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, chopped fine
In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, garlic paste and pepper to taste, and whisk in oil until emulsified. Add the remaining ingredients and salt to taste and toss to combine well. Let salad stand at room temperature 15 minutes to allow bread to soak up some dressing.
TIP: The easiest way to chop the basil is to roll the leaves as tightly as you can then slice with a sharp knife.