Panzanella: Italian Bread Salad
- 1/2 French bread loaf cut into 1" cubes
- Olive oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons chiffonade of basil
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 4 Italian Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2 " slices
- 1/4 pound fresh Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 " slices
For croutons: In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. When smoking hot, add the bread cubes and fry until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Stir often to prevent from sticking. Remove from pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season with salt and pepper Toss the remain ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble, toss the fried bread with the other ingredients and place on a platter. Can be made ahead of time, by keeping the bread separate until serving.