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added by River Cottage Bread Handbook

This Tuscan bread salad is excellent eaten on its own for lunch, but also just right with barbecued food, or anything else you want to eat outdoors with a bottle of wine on a hot summer’s day. As with all peasant food, there are limitless variations, so feel free to adjust this recipe. That said, I would never attempt to make it if I didn’t have some really good ripe tomatoes and decent extra virgin olive oil. 

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Prep time
  • 15 mintues
Cook Time
  • 15 minutes
  • Four
  • About 500g stale white bread (ideally ciabatta or sourdough)
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil 1 large red onion
  • Finely chopped 1⁄2 cucumber, chopped quite small
  • 4 good-sized ripe tomatoes, chopped quite small
  • A handful of small capers 25ml good-quality white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar
  • A pinch of caster sugar Flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • A big bunch of basil, leaves only
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Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

In a roasting tray, toss the bread with half the olive oil then bake it, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden and crispy.

You can miss out this step – many Italians would – but it adds texture and flavour, which I like.

Leave to cool, then toss with the onion, cucumber, tomatoes (including all their juices) and capers in a large serving bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the rest of the olive oil together with the wine vinegar and sugar.

Pour this dressing over the salad and season generously with salt and pepper.

Tear the basil over and toss it all together.

Taste for seasoning.

You can either serve the salad straight away, or leave it to stand at room temperature for an hour or so, to let the flavours blend.

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