Serves 4 as a light meal or 6 as a side
- 6 1/2 oz sourdough boule, preferably day-old, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 lb mixed ripe tomatoes of choice cut into 3/4-inch pieces (halved if using cherry or grape tomatoes), about 3 cups
- 1 cup mozzarella pearls OR fresh mozzarella cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tightly packed cup coarsely chopped mixed fresh tender herbs of choice, such as basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, and mint, about 1 3/4 oz
- ½ cup very thinly sliced red onion, about 1-1/2 oz
This tasty version of a classic bread-centric Tuscan salad contains simple, straightforward ingredients that marry deliciously. Of course, quality bread makes all the difference, but using stale quality bread makes it even better. The oil-infused toasted bread cubes soften and swell after absorbing the bright, citrusy dressing and ripe tomato juices, making for a light but satisfying meal that’s easy to make. Top the salad with any type of grilled meat or fish, store-bought rotisserie chicken, or good-quality jarred tuna for heartier fare.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425°F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with 3 Tbsp of the oil, granulated garlic, ½ tsp salt, and a generous grind of pepper. Spread in a single layer and toast, tossing halfway through, until light golden brown and firm, 9 to 10 minutes total.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, ¼ tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the dressing and a generous pinch of salt. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the toasted bread cubes, mozzarella, herbs, and onion. Toss well to evenly coat the ingredients with the dressing and tomato juices. Let the salad sit, tossing occasionally, until the bread absorbs the juices in the bowl and begins to soften, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve.