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A Hearty Bread Salad

20120611-071740.jpg I don’t know what it is, but when the days grow longer and are filled with more sunshine, I tend to make more bread salads. This version can almost be a meal alone, but works perfectly next to a piece of fish or meat. Last night it teamed up with grilled tuna steaks and worked swimmingly as we sat outside and dined, alongside a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

The juice of the tomatoes mixed with sea salt and a good amount of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on, creates the dressing for this bread salad. I like to cut the juiciest tomatoes I can find first, and let the salt really do its trick by drawing out the natural juices of the tomato. Add olive oil and set aside. Since this is a composed salad, I like to get everything ready first, and mix it all together at the same time. If your baguette is a tad stale, all the better. Ours was not, so I cubed it and mixed the bread with more olive oil, salt & pepper and roasted it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. I still wanted the bread a bit soft, not really crouton like, and hard. This is a personal preference. Your call. Set aside. Now take the skin off an English cucumber, and cut into small pieces. Really any cucumber will do, I just like how English cucumbers have much smaller to no seeds–put those in a bowl. Now cube feta. You will also want black olives without pits, and a handful of basil leaves. It is now time to add all of this goodness together. Add everything into a large mixing bowl, tearing the basil leaves into pieces. Mix and let sit for a good 15 minutes so the juices get into the bread. This 15 minutes can seem like an eternity, as that bread salad just looks too good to not dive into. Your patience will be rewarded. Once it has time to meld all the flavors and juices, go for it. Enjoy!

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