Make this Tuscan bread and tomato salad when you have leftover stale bread, at least a couple days old. It might seem strange to soak the bread in water and squeeze it out like a sponge, but this is the way they do it in Tuscany. Be sure to use a hearty bread that is very stale. Delicate or fresh bread will be too mushy. Feel free to branch out or embellish it with a garnish of capers, olives, red peppers, burrata or some fresh leafy greens.
Makes 4 servings
- 4 slices or 1⁄2 pound of stale ciabatta, levain or hearty bread
- 2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juices
- 2 small Persian cucumbers, medium dice
- 1⁄4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Basil, torn into small pieces
Soak bread in water for 15 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze all the water out of the bread. And then fluff it up as you add it to a large bowl. It will look a little like damp couscous. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices, diced cucumber and onion. Add the red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine all the ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning. Let chill for up to 1 hour before serving.