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Bruschetta Panzanella Salad

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Ingredients

For the tomatoes and bread

  • 5 cups tomatoes, diced into bite sized pieces (you can use any kind of tomatoes here – I used a mix of heirloom and cherry)
  • 4 cups diced ciabatta bread
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • A tablespoon or two of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A big handful of sliced basil (more or less depending on preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add your diced tomatoes to a large salad bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Assemble your dressing (whisk all dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shake together in a jar). Add about half the dressing to the tomatoes and toss to combine. Allow the tomatoes to marinate while you make your croutons
  • Over medium low – medium heat, add 1/4 cup of butter, a few swirls of olive oil (a tablespoon or two if you want to measure), and your garlic cloves to a large skillet (I love using a cast iron for this!)
  • When the butter is melted and your garlic is softly simmering, add your bread cubes and toss until they are all evenly coated. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the bread out in an even-ish layer and let the bread toast, tossing/stirring relatively often, spreading out in an even layer the best you can after each toss
  • Remove the garlic cloves if they are turning brown
  • When all the cubes of bread are evenly golden brown, add them to your tomatoes, throw in your basil, add your remaining dressing to taste (I didn’t use quite all of it), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately!

Notes

I like to serve this salad right after it’s tossed, but traditionally, you let it all set together for about half an hour so the bread soaks up all the dressing and juices from the salad. I like my bread to still retain a little crunch, but you can do either! Both will be delicious.

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