Greek Bread Salad
This is probably blasphemous. It is a hybrid between Greek Village Salad (as my Greek husband calls it) and Panzanella (essentially rustic Italian Salad).
Two salads iconic in their cultures. Two salads, similar in content- but quite distinctive in the details.
I went and mixed all that stuff up and came up with this salad which I will consider to be all of the best parts of each, and then mashed together!
The base of it is the delicious, chewy ciabatta bread, toasted and cubed, (but it would be wonderful grilled, and any good rustic style bread will work well). I added red a grilled red onion for sweetness and a good smoky flavor.
The gorgeous sweet heirloom tomatoes and bright, crunchy bell peppers add incredible flavor and color to the salad. And last but not least, comes the wonderful additions of kalamata olives and fresh, salty feta cheese.
The whole salad was tossed in a tangy vinaigrette and then left to sit in the refrigerator to meld the flavors. (It only tasted better the next day!)
We had this salad when people came for dinner, and I served it along side grilled fish. It felt like it really accomplished several dishes in one. You had all of the beautiful, fresh vegetables that you would expect and want in a salad, but there was also a heartiness that came from the bread and alleviated the need for me to make a pasta or rice dish.
oh. I just needed to post this cute picture of my little love muffin…
Greek Bread Salad, serves 10-12
1/2 loaf ciabatta bread, split in half lengthwise (about 2-3 cups)
6 medium tomatoes (about 6 cups), chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 large red onion, sliced into rings
1/3 lb feta cheese
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
Grill the red onion slices until they are soft and tender and have grill marks on them. Set aside.
Toast the bread (in the oven or on the grill) until golden brown on the edges.
When the bread is toasted, cut the bread into bite sized pieces and add them to a large bowl.
Add the red onion slices to the bowl.
Add the tomato chunks to the bowl.
Add the cucumber and the bell pepper to the bowl.
Add the Olives.
Add the Feta cheese.
In small bowl, mix together the garlic clove the oil and the vinegar.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.
Toss the salad with the vinaigrette until the ingredients are well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. You want to let the bread soak up the vinaigrette and the juices from the veggies for a of couple of hours or up to overnight.