Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Red Onions

Bread Salad with Tomatoes, Herbs, and Red Onions

Despite its most humble origins, this salad is delicious. The bread must be coarse peasant bread or any sturdy Italian-style bread. Other breads will not hold up to being dressed with oil and vinegar and combined with tomatoes, which are full of water. Also, don’t use sweetened breads. If the tomatoes are ripe and the olive oil is particularly flavorful, you can omit the vinegar, moistening the bread with a tablespoon or two of water instead.

1 pound Italian peasant bread , day-old, crusts removed, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into medium dice
1/2 red onion , sliced paper-thin
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves , or mint leaves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place bread cubes in shallow bowl. Mix oil, vinegar, tomatoes, onion, and half of herbs in medium bowl. Let stand for flavors to develop, about 10 minutes, then add to bread, along with remaining herbs, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper or to taste. If bread still seems dry, sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons water to rehydrate it a bit. Serve.

(If sturdy bread is used, salad can be covered and set aside up to 2 hours.)

Serves 4

Cooks Illustrated