My Recipe Box

Bread Salad with Corn, Cherry Tomatoes & Basil

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Serves four to six.

Stale bread is traditional for bread salad, but here I use fresh bread that's toasted in a hot oven. The outside gets crisp; the inside stays slightly chewy. Juicy tomatoes are key; if you can't find cherry ones, use beefsteak tomatoes. Grape tomatoes aren't juicy enough for this salad. If your corn is exceptionally sweet and tender, you can skip the blanching step.

  • 1 shallot, lobes separated and cut lengthwise into very thin slices
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar; more to taste
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 loaf (8 oz.) rustic French or Italian peasant bread (choose a firm, chewy loaf, not an airy one), crusts trimmed and bread cut or torn into rough 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears) (see How to get fresh corn kernels off the cob)
  • 12 oz. juicy cherry tomatoes, cut in half and lightly salted, or 2 small beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large dice and salted
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the shallot slices in a small bowl filled with ice water. Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a chef's knife, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Put the paste in a small bowl (or keep it in the mortar, if using) and whisk in the vinegar. Bruise two of the basil leaves with the back of a knife to release some of their flavor. Add the leaves to the garlic.

Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake until the cubes are crisp and light golden brown outside but still soft inside, about 10 min. Set aside to cool.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the corn kernels and blanch for 1 min. Drain and set aside.

Remove the two basil leaves from the garlic mixture and discard. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil into the vinegar mixture. Drain the shallots. Put the corn kernels, shallots, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt. Add the bread and toss with the vinaigrette. Taste again and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 15 min. but no longer than 30 min. to let the bread absorb the juices. Taste again and, if needed, season with more salt, pepper, and vinegar. Just before serving, roughly chop the remaining basil and toss it with the salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 380; Fat (g): fat g 25; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 4; Protein (g): protein g 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 37; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 390; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Yum. I've made this salad several times and everyone has loved it. I sometimes use seedy, dense artisan bread which holds up nicely for the day after leftovers, if there are any.

Yum. I've made this salad several times and everyone has loved it. I sometimes use seedy, dense artisan bread which holds up nicely for the day after leftovers, if there are any.

This salad is fantastic! The only thing I did different was grill the corn and substitute red onion for the shallots. I also put the vinegar mixture over the corn an tomatoes and let it sit. This let the tomatoes juice up and gave the croutons a lot of flavor. It's a must try recipe.

I don't care that croutons are not traditional in panzanella. This is an absolutely wonderful salad.

EXCELLENT SUMMER SALAD!!! This is a salad I love the ingredients for and can't wait to make again and again. I've made it several times and it is always a hit!

This salad has become a tradition at my home in the summer when corn, tomatoes and basil are at their peak - everyone loves it. In fact my friends now expect it and are disappointed if I don't include it at a summer barbeque.

I have made this salad twice and both times to rave reviews. Once I made it with lightly grilled corn and it was delicious. As long as you have fresh, sweet corn, however, there is no need to cook the corn. Per the recipe, you add the toasted bread and let sit for 15 minutes, but don't let it sit much past this as it can get a little soggy and lose the nice crunch. This has been added to "my standards".

Delicious

This salad is awesome! So many great flavors and textures. I even played a little fast and loose with some of the quantities. All fresh ingredients is an absolute must. As the recipe says, use a very chewy, dense bread. When I make a recipe that's fairly labor-intensive (and this is) it has to pay big dividends (and it does). I let the salad sit in the fridge for a little more than 30 minutes, and it was perfect.

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