Fresh mozzarella and basil elevate the classic Italian bread salad to something even more special. Quite possibly the perfect summer salad.
day-old bread cubes
artisan types are best; I tend to use leftover baguettes
large ripe tomatoes
yellow cherry tomatoes
I like these for color; another large tomato will work fine as a substitute if you prefer
about a cup's worth of cheese when cubed
loosely packed basil leaves
Additional salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
white balsamic vinegar
I’m sure regular ol’ balsamic would be equally tasty
finely minced garlic
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Add 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large saute pan, and warm over medium heat.
Keeping the heat on medium, add the bread cubes and the salt, and toss.
Stir frequently for about 10 minutes, until the cubes are well toasted. Whenever the pan dries out, add a little more olive oil, about a tablespoon at a time.
Remove bread cubes from heat and allow to cool completely.
Seed and dice the tomatoes and add to a large bowl. I keep the tomato chunks large - about the same size as the bread cubes.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl.
Give the basil a couple of rough chops, and throw it in.
Dice the mozzarella and add that to the bowl, too.
Add the cooled bread cubes.
Make the viniagrette in a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
Pour the vinaigrette over the bread, veggies, basil, and cheese, and toss gently until well incorporated.
Let sit for just a few minutes so the bread can soak in just a little of the vinaigrette.
Add a little more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and serve immediately.