When it gets hot outside, who wants to use the oven?? This is one of my stand-bys for easy summer patio dining, when you can get fresh veggies and herbs easily. Enjoy! *Note: I tend to "eyeball" all my recipes, so feel free to use your own judgement with quantities!
fresh tomatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces
seedless cucumber, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
garlic, finely chopped
red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
crusty, day old french baguette, sliced into 1 inch pieces
fresh basil leaves, chopped
black olives, chopped, if desired
ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, chopped, or fresh mozzarella boccini balls
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1place all chopped ingredients except bread chunks into a large salad bowl and turn to mix well.
2Add balsamic vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and turn to coat well. In a pinch, I have also used bottled balsamic dressing, as long as it is fresh and not too sweet tasting - the acidity works well with the fresh flavors!
3Add the chunks of bread last, since they so readily soak up the liquids. You want the bread to still have some "tooth" to it. Let sit for a half-hour or so, it takes a bit for all the flavors to meld together. Mix lightly again before serving. Serve with a nice chilled beverage, and fish or chicken for a complete summer meal!