By Cat, June 2012 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I know it sounds kinda weird with bread as the main salad ingredient, but it really is good – think of a Caesar Salad, or a greens salad with lots of croutons… Use a nice crusty old-world type sourdough bread or ciabatta. Serve this as one of the main dishes during a meal, to accompany a protein main dish, like grilled chicken or fish.
Florentine Bread Salad
This recipe is adapted from (1); see Beloved Cookbooks for more about this book. It is one of my favorite salads for a summer dinner on the patio, to accompany grilled meat.
You need slightly stale, crusty (mostly) white sourdough such as Ciabatta, for this salad. It’s best to make it a few hours in advance, to let the bread soak up some of the dressing, and for the flavors to meld.
Romaine is the best type of lettuce for this salad, as it is quite crisp and nicely green. Iceberg lettuce could be used in a pinch, or a combination of romaine and iceberg.
Serves 6 – 8, but doesn’t keep well after 1 day, so if serving 4 or less, halve the recipe.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 lb Romaine lettuce (1 large or 2 small heads)
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1 large tomato, or several cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 – 3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
- 1 cup sliced radishes
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced in rings
- ½ lb slightly stale Ciabatta or other sourdough bread, cut into 1” cubes (about 4 cups)
- Dressing and garnish
- 3 or more cloves garlic
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- Unrefined sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- blender or jar with lid
- large salad bowl
- Prep: Tear washed and dried lettuce into bite-size pieces.
- If not using an English cucumber, peel it. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and slice thinly;
- Cut tomato into thin wedges, or halve/quarter cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Slice radishes and celery thinly; slice onion thinly in rings
- Cut bread into 1″ cubes and combine in large bowl with the veggies.
- Dressing: Mince garlic, sprinkle with ½ tsp unrefined sea salt and crush with side of knife blade.
- Measure vinegar, lemon juice, basil and 1/4 tsp pepper into blender (or a jar); add minced garlic. Whisk in blender until combined, or if using a jar, screw on lid and shake well.
- If using a blender, add olive oil slowly while blender is running. If using a jar, add olive oil and shake vigorously again.
- Pour dressing over salad, grate cheese over all, then toss gently for several minutes. The bread will soak up much of the dressing. Adjust seasoning and chill until ready to serve (at least 1 hour).
- The Vegetarian Epicure, Book 2, by Anna Thomas.