Here is the perfect place for the great little cherry tomatoes that are popping up in farmers’ markets these days, in this salad that would be right at home in the Tuscan hills: ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella married to healthful garlic, shallots, and olive oil with piquant fresh herbs and tangy lemon juice to add zest and style. Mmmm! The thrifty Tuscans know all about delicious uses for day-old bread, and this is one of the best and tastiest ever.
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons minced herbs, such as Italian parsley, oregano, marjoram, chives, or a combination
Freshly-ground black pepper
4 cups day-old Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
4 cups cherry tomatoes, preferably a mix of different colors, quartered (or use regular tomatoes, diced)
1/2 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted and sliced
1. Place vinegar, shallots, and garlic in a medium bowl and set bowl aside for 20 minutes. Stir in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the bread and mozzarella. Pour two-thirds of the dressing over, and toss again. Set the bowl aside for 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, and remaining dressing, and toss thoroughly. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.