Bread salads are famous in both Italy (panzanella) and the Middle East (fattoush). Sometimes the bread component is mixed in ahead to soak up the vegetable juices; other times, the bread is added at the last moment, so it keeps some of its texture, as in this recipe.
Make the garlic croutons:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat until the garlic just begins to color, 3 to 5 min. Be careful the garlic doesn’t burn or it will become bitter. Pour the oil through a strainer onto the bread cubes. Toss until the cubes are evenly coated with oil (discard the garlic). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toast the bread in the oven, flipping occasionally, until it’s nicely golden on all sides, about 12 min. The croutons should be toasty on the surface but still somewhat soft in the middle. Return them to the large bowl and, while still warm, toss them with parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and a few grinds of pepper
Make the dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, shallots, mustard, oregano, and anchovies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 10 min. to let the flavors blend.
Assemble the salad:
Lay the arugula on a large platter and artfully arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, and croutons in stripes or piles on top of the arugula. Whisk the dressing to recombine and serve it in a pitcher. Encourage guests to spoon elements of the salad onto their plates and drizzle on some of the dressing. Or drizzle the dressing over the salad platter just before serving. You may not need all of the dressing.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on eight servings;
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips