Tomato Bread Salad (Panzanella)

Use vine-ripened tomatoes at their peak of freshness.

1/2 lb Bakery Classic Italian or Rustic Country Bread, 1-2 days old, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1/2 cup cold water
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Aunt Vera's Italian Red Wine Vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1½- 2 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 5), seeded, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Sprinkle the bread with the water and let stand about 2 minutes. Spread the pieces of bread on paper towels to dry for about 20 minutes.

Spread the cucumber pieces on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let stand about 20 minutes. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry.

In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar and garlic, then whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, basil, and bread. Toss to combine, and let stand until the bread has absorbed some of the vinaigrette.

For a salad entrée, add hard-cooked eggs, grilled tuna, and capers.Makes 4 to 6 servings

Makes 4 — 6 servings

Allergy Warning: Contains wheat