For many years I cooked without ever writing down a recipe….which has been one of the hardest parts about writing a food blog….I have to stop and write down everything that I am doing. And when I made this salad a few weeks ago, I did just that. A cup of this, 1/2 cup of that…..you get the picture.
We had it again for dinner last night, and I knew that I had to hurry and tell you about it before all the lovely tomatoes are gone until next year. But I can’t find the paper that I wrote the measurements on. Luckily for me, this is one of those salads that doesn’t depend on strict measurements or exact ingredients. So, basically I’m guessing on the amounts as I write this.
Sometimes I add olives, sometimes I don’t. If I’m making it for a meal, I throw in chopped grilled chicken breast. You can make the croutons out of any bread you have around. The real constants (for me) in this salad are fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes.
When put together, this salad has it all….crunchy croutons, creamy mozzarella, salty capers, crisp cucumbers, tangy dressing. Perfect for a hot, humid August night.
Once again, I’m giving you a salad that serves 4 regular adults, or at my house 2 hungry friends sharing a bottle of wine.
12 ounces bread, cut into cubes and tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces tomatoes (cherry, plum or whatever you fancy), halved if using cherry, cut into cubes if using larger
1 english (hot house) cucumber, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed or 8 ounces ciliegine (little balls of mozzarella in water)
20-25 fresh basil leaves, torn into roughly 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup olives, cut in halves (OPTIONAL)
2 boneless grilled chicken breasts, cubed (OPTIONAL)
1 recipe basic vinaigrette (using red wine vinegar for this recipe)
To make the croutons, bake bread cubes tossed with olive oil in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until croutons are browned and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool while preparing the rest of salad.
Add all of the ingredients, except for vinaigrette to a large salad bowl.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Add vinaigrette (start with 1/2 of the recipe and add more to taste), mix well and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide among 4 dinner plates or salad bowls.