Tuscan Tomato & Bread Salad
I discovered this WINNER recipe right as summer was coming on, and during my quarantined/ pregnant cooking months that I swear made all food taste SO MUCH BETTER. These are the recipes that remind us that Ina really is queen! So simple, but so perfect..a dish we will make (and already have been making) again and again.
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 3/4-inch diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 pound sourdough bread, crusts removed and 3/4-inch diced
20 fresh basil leaves, julienned
Put the tomatoes and mozzarella in a large bowl. Combine the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 1-cup glass measuring cup and slowly whisk in the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan until hot but not smoking. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute over medium to medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the bread is evenly browned and crisp. Add the warm bread to the tomatoes and mozzarella. Add enough of the vinaigrette to moisten all the ingredients. Add the basil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss carefully, adding more vinaigrette if necessary. Serve at room temperature.