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Cherry Tomato Bread Salad with Basil & Fresh Mozzarella

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Serves six.

  • To learn more, read:
    Tomato Salads
  • by Joanne Weir from Fine Cooking
    Issue 59

  • 6 slices, 1/2 inch thick, ciabatta or other squat, chewy bread
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 30 basil leaves
  • 1 small strip lemon zest, about 2 inches long, white pith removed
  • 4 cups small cherry tomatoes (or other bite-size tomatoes, such as pear or grape) in assorted colors, halved
  • 1 lb. small fresh mozzarella balls (about 1 inch in diameter)
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400°F. Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces, pile them on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the oil. Sprinkle with salt, toss, spread in a single layer, and bake, turning occasionally, until the bread cubes are golden and crunchy, 8 to 12 min. Set aside to cool.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the basil leaves and lemon zest and blanch for 5 seconds. Drain. Transfer the basil and zest to a blender and pulse a few times to chop the leaves. With the blender running, slowly add the remaining 1/3 cup oil through the lid’s fill hole and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to purée until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds.

In a large bowl, toss together the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and bread cubes. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for 20 min. Sprinkle with the chile flakes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 410; Fat (g): 28; Fat Calories (kcal): 250; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 20; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 21; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 520; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is a great bread salad. I use the ciabata bread from Costco. It is super good!

Very yummy. I've made it at least 5 times since first trying it about 6 weeks ago. Could use perhaps a little less bread. I've only had left-overs once. It was still edible the next day, but of course, the croutons had lost all their crunch.

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